12 Fabulous Fresh Fruits to Buy Now

I Love Fruit

Fruit has been my favorite food for as long as I can remember.  When I was a young girl, my mom always knew where to find me;  sitting under our peach tree reading a good book and enjoying this incredible fruit until I nearly burst. My mother used to tell me I was going to turn into a peach one day – but I never did.  Guess that was just a “momism” right? I eat several servings of fruit everyday.  I just love everything about fruit – its taste, texture, rainbow of colors, its portability, its accessibility, and now that I am a grown up its awesome nutrition. Really, what’s not to love?

With summer here (unofficially) it is the perfect time to enjoy all the mouth-watering, fresh, delicious, nutritious, in-season fruit available at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. Why buy in-season? Well, in-season means flavor and nutrition are at their peak. Moreover, when you buy in-season and local you are also supporting local producers, minimizing the carbon footprint of your purchases, and reducing your food costs. There is a lot to be said for picking your own food or speaking directly with the grower. Its a great experience.

What’s In Season?

Let’s start with stone fruits.

Peaches, cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines are delicious and nutritious, very portable, and add awesome taste, color and texture to fruit salads and non-dairy yogurts. Stone fruits are good sources of Vitamins A & C and calcium and are excellent sources of potassium and fiber. BONUS BENEFIT of choosing stone fruits – they are low in calories and their natural sweetness will satisfy your need for something sweet without the guilt.

Who doesn’t love berries?

I’m going to confess that I could easily eat berries everyday, all day.  I love how they taste and how juicy they are and their rich colors. I remember spending a lot of time as a child picking wild blueberries on the hill behind my grandmother’s home. As an adult, I still seek out opportunities to pick my own berries – it is such a great way to spend a morning and the payoff – a basket full of beautiful, delicious berries – is well worth the dirt on my knees and stains on my fingers.  Berries  are the quintessential finger food. You can take them to work, enjoy them while watching a movie, snack on them while reading a good book….really they are great anytime, anywhere. AND – NO GUILT! Berries are also low calorie foods.

Berries in general are an excellent source of Vitamin C, are a good source of fiber, and are an exceptional antioxidant-rich food.  Strawberries are a good source of folate, potassium and manganese too.  Raspberries are also high in potassium, and a good source of iron, Vitamin B6 and calcium. Blueberries (I particularly love the flavor of wild blueberries) offer great support to our brain function: in fact, several studies show blueberries can improve memory. Delicious, juicy blackberries are plentiful – growing often uncontrollably along the slopes of many roadsides and walking paths.

Melons are awesome!

This is the perfect time of year to enjoy sweet, juicy cantaloupe and watermelon.  I love these two fruits just by themselves; but there are so many other ways you can incorporate them into your diet. They are awesome in a fruit salad or stirred into non-dairy yogurt. You can add them to your fruit smoothie or just juice them on their own. Some people like to grill watermelon too.

Did you know watermelon is one of the best fruits for hydration?  Watermelon is 92% water – this is why it is so popular on hot days. Watermelon is a very good source of Vitamin C, like other fruit, but it is also a heart-healthy food. Watermelon contains lycopene, an important carotenoid that fights free radicals. Lycopene gives watermelon  flesh its red color – the redder this fruit’s flesh, the higher the lycopene (a very good thing).

Cantaloupe is an incredible source of Vitamins A & C. In fact, a small melon can provide over 375% of your daily requirements of these two vitamins. Pretty awesome, right?  Cantaloupe is also a good source of Vitamin B6, iron and calcium too.

Both these melons are low-calorie foods too.  Don’t you love that????

There you have it – 12 fabulous, fresh, in-season fruits you can find in your local farmers’ market or produce section at your grocer. Want to know more about what’s in season?  Check out this handy chart from CUESA http://www.cuesa.org/eat-seasonally/charts/fruit


5 Reasons to Love Organic Apples This Fall

Autumn Apples

Apples are one of my favorite plant foods and, based on apple consumption worldwide, I am not alone. Some of my current go-to varieties are featured in the photo above: Gala, Jona Gold, Honey Crisp and Cripps Pink. Did you know there are over 7500 varieties of apples produced in more than 90 countries around the world? Cool, right? Here is the list of the top 12 producing countries. Does this list surprise you?

Top Apple Producing Nations

I’m sure there are many more reasons to love organic apples this Fall, but here are my top five:

  1. Nutrition tops the list for me! Apples are a notable source of flavonoids and phenolic antioxidants. These antioxidants protect our cells from the damage of oxidation.  Flavonoids, the elements in plants responsible for their beautiful colors, protect our blood vessels and prevent inflammation, as well as enhance the efficacy of vitamin C rich foods like apples. Apples are also an important source of both soluble and insoluble fiber – critical to a healthy digestive system and a healthy heart. Bonus: apples are a water-rich food adding to our cumulative daily water intake. Eating the whole, raw food is the best way to get the most benefit from this incredible fruit. What you may not know, though, is an apple’s skin is a significant contributor to its overall nutritive value so please don’t peel and discard. Eat it!
  2. Apples are an abundant food thus apples are easy to obtain. However, it is very important to choose only organically grown apples because the conventionally grown fruit, #1 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, is a magnet for pesticide residues. Further, conventionally grown apples are often coated in wax to keep them looking pristine. Just so we are clear – pesticide residue and wax are not something you want to consume. Look for organic apples at a local farmers’ market like #CUESA Farmers’ Market in San Francisco, #Downtown 3rd Farmers Market in Las Vegas, or #Union Square Greenmarket in New York City; visit an orchard such as Gilcrease Orchard in Las Vegas, or one of the many organic apple orchards in Washington State; or enjoy perusing the bins full of beautiful organic apples in your local grocery market.
  3. Apples are affordable. Abundant supply keeps prices reasonable and, when you factor in the nutritional value of an apple, you get a big bang for your buck. Prices will vary based on where you buy (farmers’ market, orchard or grocery store) and the variety of apple you choose. Of course, I recommend buying directly from the grower whenever possible so you know exactly where your food comes from.
  4. I find apples delicious but I know what I like make not appeal to you. Good thing the variety of apples available means there is something for every taste and texture preference. Some apples are sweet, some are tart, and some are crisp and crunchy while others are soft and silky. Have some fun and try as many varieties as you can find. I happen to like the crisp and crunchy varieties for my morning snack. I had a Honey Crisp apple this morning that was AWESOME! I add some of the sweeter, softer varieties to my morning smoothies. Don’t forget, the skin is not only beautiful to look at, it is chock full of nutrition, so make sure you eat it too!
  5. Apples are very versatile. They make great, portable snacks fitting easily into your handbag, lunch bag, backpack or briefcase. They can also serve as a quick breakfast or light lunch – just spread some almond or peanut butter on apple slices for a quick protein, vitamin and fiber boost. Chop up your apple and add to a salad or a sandwich filling like our Jazzed Up Chickpea Spread. You can add apples to a smoothie too. They add great nutrition and some natural sweetness. Homemade applesauce is great for small children and makes a healthy snack alternative for late-night munchies.

Our conclusion: apples are nutritious, delicious, versatile, affordable and suitable for every age. They come in so many varieties finding one or several you love will be fun and definitely worth the effort. Visiting an orchard or farmers’ market where you can talk to the growers and learn about this little powerhouse plant-based food also makes for a great family outing. So there you have it then, some pretty awesome reasons to love organic apples this Fall or anytime for that matter.

We would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment about your favorite variety of apple or tell us where you like to shop for this delicious fruit.

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market – San Francisco

CUESA’s Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market in San Francisco is an incredible example of how to successfully connect urban dwellers to farmers so we can understand where our food comes from and have access to the most delicious, most nutritious, most extraordinary variety of food available. CUESA is making important strides in promoting healthy food choices, educating children and adults about where our food comes from and introducing them to who provides it, and advocating for sustainable agriculture and earthy-friendly living.

Tim Sternadel, Lonely Mountain Farm

Tim Sternadel

I was excited to visit the Farmers’ Market with my videographer/photographer husband. We are grateful to CUESA for giving us permission to shoot video and stills while we were there. One of the highlights of our visit was  the Lonely Mountain Farm booth and meeting Tim Sternadel and Justin Outten – two of the farmers who live and work on the farm. Tim (pictured here) and Justin (featured in our video) are truly passionate about bringing wholesome, organic, delicious and nutritious food to your table. In fact, they invite you to their farm to enjoy a meal at their table during one of their many Farm to Table dinners. The next dinner is planned for August 16th, with their Fall Farm to Table dinner scheduled for October 4th. Click the link above to learn more about the farm and to make your reservations for a dining experience you will not forget.

Take a moment to watch our interview with Justin Outten from Lonely Mountain Farm. I think you will enjoy it!

If you have visited the CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market or visited Lonely Mountain Farm and have some photos, please share them with us.  If you like what we are doing here at Jazzed Up Veggies, please subscribe to this blog and share it with your friends and family. I am truly enjoying getting to know new people who share my desire to live the best life possible and to treat our earth and all its inhabitants with love.