The Benefits of Eating Locally
Eating seasonally and locally is such a good practice. Not only for the obvious reason of supporting our local economy, although, that alone is reason enough! Did you know that eating what is grown locally when it is ripe, is better for our overall health? That’s right, eating locally & seasonally aids in promoting the good bacteria that lives in our digestive system, which in turn improves our gut health, immune system, skin, it helps balance our blood sugar, and aids in weight management. Not to mention, that food tastes so much better when it ripens naturally, on the vine, rather than in a transport truck.
Before we moved to Kingsville, I managed a restaurant called ‘Earth to Table’ which focused on exactly this. They owned a farm and really focused on utilizing what is available at hand seasonally when they could. It was a great learning experience for so many reasons. After all, it’s one thing to know what to eat, but that doesn’t equate to much if you don’t have the means to prepare it. And while we all know I’m not a fantastic cook, I can usually follow a recipe. The owners of Earth to Table have published 2 books and both are worth the read if this is something that interests you. The pages are filled with the most beautiful pictures and fantastic recipes.
When we think of eating local, we usually just equate that to produce, but there are so many other things to consider. For example, honey. Did you know that consuming local raw honey can help with allergies? When we consume local honey, we are ingesting local pollen, which, over time helps to decrease our sensitivities to said pollen. I don’t know about you, but I am definitely incorporating this into my diet! Allergies are at an all time high these days. Also, honey has amino acids, minerals and vitamins that help absorb cholesterol and fat. It is said that drinking warm water and honey each morning on an empty stomach helps to prevent weight gain.
Sun Parlor Honey $6.50 | Sun Parlor Bee Pollen $5.50 | Sun Parlor Honey Comb $7.50
Have you noticed that in the last decade, more people seem to be developing a gluten intolerance? Me too! While many people do suffer from celiac disease, there are a growing number of people developing 'gluten sensitivities'. The bread we carry at Anna’s is from Green Heart Kitchen and uses locally sourced organic flour which they then ferment. Making it consumable for so many people who thought they could no longer enjoy bread! I'm not telling you to eat the bread… but, if you thought your bread days were over, and a slice of Green Heart sour dough just happens to fall into your mouth, it could be a game changer!
Green Heart Fresh Baked San Francisco Sour Dough $8.00 | Tea Towel $12.99
It’s nearly impossible to eat 100% local, but here in the Sun Parlour of Ontario we surely have an advantage. We are surrounded by fields, markets, and greenhouses, all of which aid in promoting this lifestyle.
And there are of course some things that are simply worth the mileage to add into our kitchens, such as: fair-trade coffee, good olive oil, rice, cheese, chocolate (of course!), citrus fruits, etc. You get the idea!
Balzac's Fairtrade Organic Farmers Blend Coffee $17
Ok, lets get to the goods! What should we be incorporating into our diet now? Generally, the growing season falls slightly behind our regular seasons, so technically, we are just beginning to harvest what is in season for spring. Some of the first fruits and veggies to grace our tables are: lettuce, green onions, garlic scapes, fiddleheads, asparagus, zucchini, herbs, new potatoes, peas, radishes, cherries, strawberries & rhubarb. Most of which you can find on the produce table at Anna's.
I hope you take advantage of all the wonderful treats nature brings us this season! The crunchy fresh salads, grilled asparagus and zucchini & all things pesto! To name a few.
Wildly Delicious Roasted Garlic & Shallot Cuisine Oil $10.00
Pot Holder $9.99 | Zucchini $4.00/package
Lastly, here's one of my favourite spring salad recipes from the Earth to Table cookbook mentioned above.