Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eat local / Canadian Farmers Markets

Spring kicks off the growing season in Canada. It’s time to start filling your grocery cart with local produce. When you buy from Canadian farmers, the food tends to be fresher, more nutritious and doesn’t require travelling long distances – which helps our environment, too.

Walk the aisles of your grocery store and look for some local foods including vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and dairy.
You can also visit your local Canadian Farmers Markets.
Here are some tips and recipes featuring some of Canada’s best produce.

The fresher the better Find out when your grocery store receives its produce delivery and plan your shopping accordingly. Check the label to make sure the produce comes from Canada, which has some of the world’s highest standards when it comes to food safety and quality.

Buy in season Some early Canadian produce items include asparagus, snow peas, new potatoes and dark leafy greens such as Swiss chard, watercress, Brussels sprouts and spinach.
Choose fresh asparagus by looking for straight, crisp spears with green or purple tips and tight heads. Their stalks should be firm and snap off easily.
Try our asparagus and red pepper mix recipe.
Soon, strawberries and rhubarb will be available, too.
Try our strawberry compote with dumplings recipe.
Consume your fresh produce within a week for best results. But if produce is not yet available, eat frozen or canned, which is packaged immediately after it is harvested.

Eat it right Most fresh produce is best eaten raw. Simply wash, trim and cut a variety of vegetable crudités such as green beans, spring onions and radishes. Enjoy them with our goat cheese and mint bean spread.
Some vegetables release more nutrients when lightly steamed or sautéed, including broccoli, carrots and tomatoes.

Local treats Most regions in Canada have award-winning cheeses, and locally grown spring lamb, pork, beef and harvested salmon. For a delicious dinner made with local foods, try our recipe for lamb stew with mini new potatoes.

By Alyssa Rolnick MHSc., RD

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