Community Agriculture Alliance: Eating seasonal
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As the leaves begin to turn, and we welcome autumn to our valley, we see a transition in food. After a summer of peaches, tomatoes and cucumbers, we look to warm up with things like butternut squash, chilies, meat and root vegetables. Pumpkins are showing up, crock pots are coming out of summer storage, and our bodies want to bulk up for winter.
Eating seasonally can be better for you and healthier. The seasonality of fruits and vegetables and the nutrients in which they are rich is all part of nature’s design. It is not by accident that citrus ripens in winter months. It is high in vitamin C, which we need to fight cold and flu viruses.
Summer brings us fruits high in sugars and carbohydrates to power us through longer days and more time spent outdoors, with fruits like watermelon to keep us hydrated. Apples harvested in the fall not only taste delicious but can help prepare our bodies to digest the fats we crave for warmth in winter. Conversely, once spring arrives, we look to greens to lighten us up after winter.
Have you ever considered the energy required and the environmental cost of providing out of season produce? We live in a rural area with a short growing season, so we know we’ll occasionally have to look to nonlocal producers for some items but working to minimize that consumption by turning to seasonal produce is a great way to reduce your environmental impact.
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Choosing local producers makes it even better. Check out the Community Agriculture Alliance Market at caamarket.org. There are over 60 local producers listing and selling local food each week, year-round. Consider trying local beef short ribs or lamb sausage, and once you try local fresh eggs and bacon, you won’t be able to go back to grocery store bought items.
Several small, indoor producers grow nutrient-dense micro greens year-round. Give them a try. They make a great addition to any sandwich and salads. Another great way to try local, seasonal food is at Community Ag’s farm-to-table dinner on Oct. 17 at Harwigs, 911 Lincoln Ave. The event features elevated local food, paired Colorado wines and an evening celebrating fresh, local ingredients. Limited tickets are available at communityagalliance.org.
Shirl Cox is the program coordinator for the Community Agriculture Alliance.
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