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Summer’s Bounty

The pickin’ is plentiful and life is good. Now is the time to take advantage of summer’s bounty. Summer produce is colorful and healthy. It tastes amazing. And right now, it’s everywhere!

Fruits and Veggies in Season

Buying summer produce now means you get fruits and vegetables that taste their best.  See Panhandle Produce in Season for what’s in season in the Florida Panhandle. Because this is the easiest time to grow them, they also cost less than at other times of the year. You also may get to learn more about where your food comes from. This is a great time of year to buy local. Speaking of which…

Visit a U-Pick farm for fresh, local produce.
Photo source: Alex Hinkle

U-Pick Farms

When’s the last time you or your kids picked your own food? U-Pick farms are a great way for the whole family to enjoy the outdoors. (Hint: for max comfort and safety, go in the earliest/coolest part of the day.) Picking from a U-Pick helps you get delicious food at a good price. It also helps local businesses thrive. You can meet the local farmers in your area. You usually can get easy, tasty recipe ideas and you can even make new friends. (Working to pick your own food also can make you appreciate how hard it is to have the job of farmer.) To find the closest U-Pick farm in your area, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office.

Save Some for the Colder Months

Whether from a U-Pick, farmer’s market, or grocery store, sometimes you just can’t eat all that great produce right now. What to do? Canning or freezing are excellent options. For information on freezing vegetables, see UF IFAS Freezing Vegetables. For fruits like berries, rinse berries well and let them dry on paper towels. Place in plastic zippered bags and freeze. Then just take out the amount you need for blueberry muffins in January – Yum! Or if you live in the South, it’s easy to make cold smoothies in the blender any time of year.

Fresh-picked blueberries are perfect in smoothies and salads.
Photo source: Alex Hinkle

Half MyPlate

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recommends half of your plate be fruits and veggies. Eating in this way gives your body the nutrients it needs to get healthy and stay healthy. Vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber are packed into summer produce. Eat a variety. Try produce in every color, texture, shape, and size. To pack a tasty, healthy wallop for your next meal, make a hot multi-veggie hash alongside a cold refreshing fruit salad. For more ideas on how to add more fruits and veggies into your day, go to Liven Up Your Meals with Fruits and Veggies.

Summer’s Bounty – get it now, enjoy it now!

 

 

 

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Author: Angela Hinkle - ahinkle@ufl.edu

Angela Hinkle is the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Agent in Escambia County.

Permanent link to this article: http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/fcs/2018/07/11/summers-bounty/