How to get local fruit, veggies after summer

So summer came and went, as did most of the local farmers’ markets, community gardens and community supported agriculture food boxes. The sun is coming up later and going down sooner. We may think we have to wait until spring to eat another flavorful, nutrient-packed, local vegetable.

However, do not despair. Other vegetables are here. If you did not can or freeze vegetables this summer but still want to find produce that is fresh and local, you are not out of luck.

There are some vegetables that like to grow in our cold, Ohio climate. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and chard can grow in cooler temperatures. As can those delicious cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli.

Oh, and don’t forget about some of those great, hearty squashes like butternut, acorn and pumpkin and beautiful purple vegetables like beets and radishes. Lastly, we don’t want to miss out on Ohio’s great apples. There are varieties of apples that will grow most of the winter.

Consuming a mixture of these vegetables provides an array of great vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, E, K, folate, Vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, copper and iron. They are provide various health promoting and disease preventing phytochemicals.

Now the question is where can you buy local produce during this time of year? Here are a few places around the Dayton and surrounding area.

1. Talk with your local grocer and ask what produce is grown locally.

2. Look for local markets open all year around. For example, Second Street Market in downtown Dayton may be a good option. Also, a market just opened up at the RTA station in downtown Dayton. It is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. Yellow Springs has a winter market on Saturday mornings from 8:30-11:30 in the Senior Center on Xenia Avenue. Champaign County has a year-round virtual farmer’s market.

3. If you are a gardener, continue to grow vegetables. You can even build a small hoop house to help extend the growing season and therefore the fresh foods on your table.

Do not let the cold weather keep you from eating your fruits and vegetables. Indulge this season in some green leafy vegetables, beautiful purple beets and flavorful squashes.

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Diana Cuy Castellanos is an assistant professor at the University of Dayton and a registered dietitian. She teaches courses on nutrition and fitness and nutritional health in communities. Email: dcuycastellanos1@udayton.edu.

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