Halloween is right around the corner! But there is still time to visit your local apple orchard or pumpkin patch before the brutal cold is here to stay. Being in the Midwest, it is easy to take for granted the ample amount of local food and produce grown here. For example, I never knew that an apple orchard existed around here until couple other interns pitched the idea of going apple picking one day. I am originally from the suburbs. So, being a suburbanite, the closest thing to local that I bought was labeled “local” produce at the supermarket. However, in DeKalb we have the luxury of farms and produce stands that help us ensure where we get our food from.
There are tons of benefits of buying local produce. Here are some to keep in mind:
- Produce are picked at their peak ripeness and sold in-season, so they usually taste better
- Shorter time between harvest and your table provides more nutrients
- Helps support the local economy – money spent with local farmers stays close to home and is reinvested within the community
- Provides safer food supply – the more steps between you and your food’s source, the more chance for contamination
When thinking about local produce, apples always come to mind. I don’t know about you, but there is something about this time of the year where I CRAVE apples! Settling into the school routine with the cold, darker nights, I crave the sweet, crisp taste of a great apple. Apples are filled with nutritional benefits. Some of those benefits include:
- Contain ample amount of fiber that helps prevent constipation and promotes digestive health
- Contain the following vitamins:
- Vitamin A- helps with normal vision, immune system, and reproduction
- Vitamin B1 – helps with brain health, and central nervous system health
- Vitamin B2 –helps maintain body’s energy supply
- Vitamin C – serves as an antioxidant that helps in the protection against free radicals
To reiterate this point, check out the video my fellow classmate and I made to support local foods. My apple costume makes another fantastic performance!
I can’t talk about local foods within mentioning fellow Dietetic Intern, Katie Palomares. Katie and her husband own an organic farm, on the border of Geneva and Elburn, called Mighty Greens Farm. Check out my chat with the Katie, below.
Q: What got you into Nutrition?
KP: I have been an organic vegetable farmer for the last seven years and I found through events in the community and Farmers Markets that people were very open with sharing their nutrition and dietary struggles with me. I did not have the knowledge or tools to help them, but I really wanted to. I decided to go back to school to become a dietitian so that I would have those skills to guide these people who are seeking help.
Q: What area of nutrition do you want to focus on?
KP: I am very interested in working with children and how integrating nutrition education with at-home and/or school gardens can impact their willingness to try vegetables.
Q: What is a common thing people ask or say to you when you tell them you are in the process of becoming a registered dietitian?
KP: “How do you have time to do that?!” Is probably the most common response that I get!
So, go out and pick an apple or a pumpkin! Fall is ticking on by, so what are you waiting for??