Our guest blogger Allie Dusome is back this week with Part 2 of Eating Seasonally! Tune in next week for a post about detoxification.
If you read my previous post, you know how wonderful I think it is to eat with the seasons. You also might remember me mentioning how lucky we are that we live near so many farmers who grow fresh, seasonal produce that we can bring to our kitchen tables.
The question I often get asked, is where can I find delicious, local and (hopefully) organic produce? Today this is what we’re going to be talking about.
There are a couple of reasons why small, local farmers aren’t always certified organic:
That being said, it’s so important to initiate conversations with your local farmers at the market and find out what types of practices they use – some times they have sustainable, organic practices and can’t afford the certification, or they use far less chemicals than conventional farming but aren’t 100% organic. Either way, it’s important to ask these questions so you understand where your food is coming from.
Where to Find Local, Organic Food
No doubt you’ve seen the organic section at places like Zhers, Freshco, SuperStore, etc. We are lucky that we’re able to purchase organic produce at convenient places like this. If I’m going to buy organic produce from a major chain, I always opt to shop at Goodness Me. Their organic selection truly is bar none. They often have local produce available which always tastes great! Be sure to look for the certified organic label on these products to ensure they are truly organic. The sticker on your produce often can tell you whether it’s organic or not: if the number on the sticker starts with a 9, it’s organic. If it starts with a 4, it’s not.
Farmer’s Markets Local markets across the province offer organic products – some markets only sell organic produce – and the food is always seasonal! This is my personal favourite spot to shop as I find the prices are competitive and the produce is always the freshest (mostly because it didn’t have to travel for days/weeks to get to the store). Farmer’s Markets Ontario has prepared a list of markets across Ontario to help you find a market closest to you.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
CSAs have become extremely popular in the last few years across Ontario. Before growing season, CSA shares are sold to customers at a prearranged price. Throughout (usually) the summer and fall months, customers pick up their produce from a specific location. These freshly picked farm-raised food boxes are often organic produce (or items that have little or no pesticides) and come in different sizes to suite your family’s needs. CSA Ontario has put together a website where you can find CSAs in your region. Becoming a member of a CSA is a wonderful way to foster a relationship between the people, the food they eat and the land it was grown on – it truly creates a farm-to-table experience.
What’s Seasonally Available Right Now?
Foodland Ontario has created this handy guide to help you navigate which foods are in season now. The month of May, for our house, means rhubarb and asparagus!
Here are my favourite ways to eat rhubarb:
If you feel unsure about how to select the best, freshest produce, head on over to The Kitchn where they talk about what to look for when picking produce.
Book a grocery store or farmer’s market tour with me where we can spend time together finding local, organic food and learning what to look for when picking the best fruit and veg!
Next week we’re going to be talking all about detoxifying the body from the winter and why our bodies crave certain foods in the summer! Stay tuned and happy eating.