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Tips and Tricks for Eating Local

Eating local is a win for everyone, especially during these times of uncertainties ever since the pandemic began back in mid-March.  Eating locally grown food is much easier than we would think and allows us to enjoy food that is much fresher and picked at full maturity, which consequently are more tasty and nutrient dense, to reduce our ecological footprint and impact on the planet, to encourage and stimulate the Quebec economy, while showing our gratitude to our local producers.  For most of us, eating local is an obvious choice during the summer, but did you know that eating locally is also possible all year round?

1.      The calendar of seasonal products and arrivals allows us to adapt and inspire our weekly menus according to the availability of our fresh fruits and vegetables.   It is available in the Products & Schedule section of the Eatquebec.com website, a site dedicated to consumers and filled with valuable information.

2.      To easily locate locally grown produce while shopping at the grocery store and in farmer’s markets, look for the Aliments du Québec logo, look on the labels or ask the store attendants or the exhibitors where their products were grown.  You can also consult the list of 180 farmers’ markets found on the Eatquebec.com website to discover new markets located near or far.

3.      You can also find a list of Quebec producers on the Eatquebec.com website.  Some producers have kiosks on the side of the road where you can buy your produce from, others open their doors for self-piking, a superb summer activity which allows us to not only save money, but also make provisions of our favorite local fruits and vegetables for the winter and prolong these tasty pleasures all through the year!   Let’s not forget to get to know and talk with these producers, they have a wealth of information on how to prepare and preserve all the foods they sell.

4.      Why not explore different methods of preserving these fruits and vegetables such as canning, freezing, dehydration and lacto-fermentation?  Tomato sauce, frozen berries, jams and purees, marinated vegetables, sauerkrauts, relishes, chutneys, pesto, dried apple or tomato slices, dried cranberries…the possibilities are endless.  No more waiting and dreaming of a fragrant strawberry pie in the middle of winter, all we would have to do sink our teeth into one anytime we choose is simply thaw a bag and get baking!

5.      On the other hand, eating locally grown produce doesn’t limit us to fresh produce only.  We have many more choices when we also consider frozen, dried and fermented local fruits and vegetables.

6.      Finally, nowadays with the abundance of fruits and vegetables grown in greenhouses we have access to a variety of Quebec grown products throughout the year, much fresher and more nutritious than its imported counterparts.  The agricultural market in Quebec has exploded in recent years, let’s take advantage of it! 

Auteur
By Sylvia Meo, Registered Dietitian For more nutrition, food and wellness tips or for healthy recipes, go to www.foodfullife.com
@thefoodfullife

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