Produce Report: Fresh Options

Hello all and Happy Monday! Let’s get this week started right with a hearty serving of delicious and nutritious organic produce. We are loving the fresh array of produce available this time of year. Plenty of salad options, grab and go fruit options and vegetables for savory side dishes or main meals as well.

Some produce highlights from this week include:

Mixed Summer Squashes from Alvarez Farm in Yakima Did You Know? Every part of the squash plant can be eaten, including the leaves and tender shoots, which can be cooked in omelets or made into soup. The delicate flavor, soft shell and creamy white flesh of summer squash is a perfect addition to any summer meal. 

For dieters and health enthusiasts alike, squash is a great addition to a healthy eating program. Squash has a reputation for fiber. Eating squash is particularly satisfying, because the bulk fills you up, allowing you to forgo second helpings. Because squash is actually the fruit of various members of the gourd family, it comes in a wide array of colors and sizes. Whether it’s tasty summer squash or sweet, flavorful winter squash, this vegetable is a great help for your healthy diet.

Fragrant, delicate arugula from Gathering Things Farm, in Western Oregon Arugula – a spicy, flavorsome herb with dark green, elongated leaves that resemble those of romaine — is often mistaken for lettuce. It is actually a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as such health-enhancing foods as broccoli and cauliflower. Arugula — also called rocket and roquette — is packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Its flavor has a peppery tang similar to that of watercress. Use arugula to add zest to salads or to garnish sandwiches; you can also served it steamed. No matter how it’s served, arugula is a healthy dietary choice.

Gorgeous apricots from Eastern Washington The slightly tart fruit is versatile, able to be used in a vast number of ways and recipes, or just enjoyed fresh right off the fruit stand. Many consumers enjoy apricots as a dried fruit. Dried apricots last longer and can be easily packed away as a snack for dieters on the go. Consumed as a dried fruit, the apricot has even more nutritional benefits then its fresh counterpart. Dried apricots are also more widely available all-year-round, while fresh apricots tend to be more of a seasonal fruit depending on your area. Fitting fresh or dried apricots into your diet plan as much as possible will be beneficial to your health and your weight.

Beautiful pink flesh pluots from Wild River Farm in California (local pluots will be available in another week or two) The strangely named pluot is a hybrid of the plum and the apricot. The actual ratio works out at about 70% plum and 30% apricot. The pluot is extremely sweet; this is because it has a very high sugar level. Although pluots are a cross breed they mainly look like plums. Many people are suspicious of pluots thinking that this strange fruit must be genetically engineered, but this is not the case. Pluots were first sold in 1989 and were developed by a Californian fruit breeder called Floyd Zaiger. It took Zaiger several generations of cross breeding before the pluot we know today finally emerged.

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