Have you ever picked a juicy ripe strawberry right from the plant? Remember how amazing it tasted?? Here’s why and how you can share the experience of enjoying fresh in-season fruits and veggies with your kids.
You can’t beat the flavor or nutritional value of produce that’s in season.
Think of flavorful local heirloom tomatoes you buy now. It’s nothing like the hard, tasteless ones you see in the grocery store later this in winter. So why bother? Eating in-season local produce means you have access to the freshest items that haven’t been stored in warehouses, grown overseas or in a hothouse. And out of season produce is usually picked before it’s ripe, so the plants’ roots have less time to absorb all the beneficial nutrients from the soil, meaning you’re missing out on some of the vitamins and minerals you could be getting.
In-season produce can cost less.
When crops are in season, there are more available so the cost goes down. This is especially true if you buy local, since transportation and storage costs are low. If you choose organic produce you will pay a bit more, but they’re pesticide-free and some food researchers believe you’re getting produce with more nutrients (especially Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and iron).
Farmers’ Markets are close by.
Fresh produce is easy to get here year round and your kids will love checking out all the booths and choosing their own fruits and veggies. San Diego offers many weekly farmers’ markets; check out the one nearest you at the Farm Bureau website. Some local ones are at Otay Ranch Town Center on Tuesday and Third Ave in Chula Vista on Thursday. On the weekend, it’s worth visiting two of the area’s largest farmers’ markets, Littly Italy’s Mercato on Saturday or Hillcrest Farmers’ Market on Sunday.
Visit a farm and show your kids where food really comes from.
Take a drive to Imperial Beach and visit Suzie’s Farm for the Saturday tour. Your kids can walk the fields, learn about the farm and pick their own organic veggies to take home. Or check out this year’s Pumpkin Palooza when kids can choose their own pumpkin. You can visit during U-Pick hours on Saturdays and Tuesdays too, or sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program to have a box of freshly harvested organic produce waiting for you at convenient neighborhood pick-up locations every week.
Fall’s Best Kid-Friendly Harvest
Look for all kinds of squash (kids like the sweet taste of delicate and it microwaves in a few minutes), carrots (rainbow ones are fun and different) and tomatoes (especially small hand sized cherry tomatoes). Flavorful fall apples are here and kids love slices with assorted dips like Nutella, peanut butter or caramel sauce mixed with yogurt. Or make your own No-Sugar Applesauce that’s super easy and ready in 20 minutes. (Remember: peel and cut up fresh fruits and veggies for your kids before they take them to school – they are much more likely to eat them!)