Enjoy your summer more with seasonal produce that is beneficial for your health, your budget and the planet!
Written By: Ana Gavrilets, Fontbonne Dietetic Intern
Fruits and vegetables can be great in many forms: fresh, canned, dried or frozen. There is a room for all of them in a healthy diet! With that said, now is a great time to take advantage of what summer has to offer and experience the wide variety of seasonal fresh produce!
As you probably already know, fruits and vegetables are essential to maintain your health, but there can even be more benefits when you choose local and in-season:
- More flavor – local seasonal produce is naturally ripened which means that you get to experience it at peak flavor, which may help motivate you to eat more variety and in the recommended amounts! Local produce also retains it’s natural texture, which will allows you to cook it in a wide variety of ways such as raw, baked, grilled or broiled.
- Budget – friendly – when produce is in season it is more abundant which generally makes it more affordable. Check additional coupons and talk to the farmers at your local farmer’s market for more discounts!
- Sustainable – local seasonal produce is usually less energy intensive to grow and transport. Thus, it produces less waste to get it to you and it benefits the local economy.
Where can you find in-season or local produce?
Farmer’s markets are great because you buy produce straight from the farmers, who gladly share their stories on how they grow it and cook it. However, depending on where you live, most grocery stores and food pantries could be sources to get seasonal local produce.
- Find a farmer’s market near you, click here
- Find a food pantry near you by calling the hunger hotline at
(314) 726-5355 x1 or click here
Wondering what’s in season now?
- Follow this link and find out what is in season in your state right now.
- Here in Missouri, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, leeks, radish, spinach, tomatoes, & strawberries are all in season during the months of May and June (just to name a few!).
Find ways to make including seasonal produce in your diet work for you! Try something new and experiment with new recipes. Go ahead and explore your local produce sources this summer and create more positive experiences with healthy sustainable eating. For a simple recipe utilizing local strawberries, check out the recipe below for homemade strawberry pancakes.
Whole Grain Strawberry Pancakes
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup non-fat milk
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup strawberries*, stems removed and diced
Strawberry Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup strawberries*, stems removed and chopped
1/8 cup water
1-2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
*Tip: you can use fresh or frozen strawberries! You can also use other fruit such as blueberries or mixed berries
1. In a large bowl stir together both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In smaller bowl combine milk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla and whisk with a fork until smooth.
2. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined, batter should still be a bit lumpy. Gently stir in diced strawberries.
3. Heat large frying pan over medium heat. Right before cooking, lightly coat with cooking spray.
4. Pour the batter by ¼ cup scoops onto the hot pan and cook 3-4 minutes, or until there are bubbles across the surface of the pancake. Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown on both sides.
5. For the strawberry sauce, combine strawberries, water, and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, and smash the strawberries with the back of a sturdy spoon. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until desired thickness is reached. Stir in lemon juice before serving.
Yield: 6 servings (2 pancakes per serving): 145 calories, 5 g total fat, 5 g protein, 20 g carbs, 4 g fiber