Summer is the time that vegetables shine! Many people are pulling beautiful zucchini, tomatoes, beans, peppers and greens out of their gardens. Fresh vegetables are in season, and you may find yourself desiring them more than usual. Go with it! Until the recent days of automobiles, airplanes and refrigeration, our bodies were used to getting fresh vegetables only during the short months of the growing season. Thousands of years of eating does leave an impression, and a healthy body will naturally crave more fresh fruits and vegetables in the summertime.
Side note: I have observed that people who are in a focused time of healing don't have this craving for fresh produce, and people who are needing to focus on detox can have fresh vegetable cravings year-round. That's okay, your body knows what it needs! Listen to your body's innate intelligence!
But depending on your situation, you may not have a garden, which makes fresh vegetables a little harder to come by. This is the case for me again this year. So today I thought I would share some ways to get fresh vegetables.
#1 Find a friend who gardens
Now, I am not telling you to mooch off a friend, leaving them to do all the hardwork. But many gardeners find themselves overflowing with vegetables right about now. Some of them may be happy just to see their hard work end up in a grateful stomach, while others would appreciate some help harvesting, preserving, or weeding in exchange for some produce. This is the best way to get vegetables, in my opinion. You will get to spend time in the wonderful sun, get to know your friend better, and maybe even learn a little about gardening. And nothing beats a fresh, hand-picked vegetable served up for dinner!
#2 Join a CSA
CSA stands for community supported agriculture. In a "working share," individuals come together under the leadership of the organizer and spend a set amount of time working around in a garden or farm for a share of the produce. There is usually a monetary investment as well. Most CSAs accept members only around the beginning of the year, so look for one to join for the next growing season. Some CSAs also offer a "non-working share," which allows an individual to pay only, and is a great option for those with jobs or situations that don't allow them the flexibility to work in the garden.
#3 Visit a local farmer's market
This one is an option for most people, but it can be a little tricky. Just because it's at a farmers market does not mean it was grown in a way that is different than the commercial food. That being said, there is going to be some benefit from eating local, naturally-ripened food, so don't rule it out if it's all you can get. The best way to know what you are buying is to talk to the farmers. Ask them how where they are located, and about their farm or garden. See what types of things they use for pesticides (organic food is often grown with organic pesticides), and what other farming/gardening practices they use. While it is not a guarantee, you may be able to find amazing and fresh produce, and at the same time provide support to that small local farm.
#4 Buy local produce at your grocery store
Here is Colorado, at the peak of the season, stores carry many things that are "Colorado Proud," meaning they are grown in Colorado. Not all stores label where their produce comes from, so ask your grocer which items are grown in your area, state, or in the United States. Made in the USA does not automatically make that food better, but knowledge is always power!
So there you go! Four ways to get garden-fresh produce without a garden. How about you? Where do you get your garden-fresh produce?