For a change of pace, this post is hopefully a little more fun and still informative. Your CTA is to take charge on at least one of the action items listed at the end!

June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month which is only fitting as summer’s bounty and harvest produces beautiful, ripe, and delicious seasonal produce. Ever noticed how your strawberries in December taste different than in July? Or, how it’s hard to find Watermelon in February? Even still, because of the globalization of produce, we’re able to enjoy a variety of not-in-season produce year-round. But, for the rest of the month and through summer, I challenge you to stick to only in-season produce. Or, to opt for at least one in-season produce item per day. Along with that challenge, here are a few other ways to observe this month:

  1. Have a party: How many cookouts have you been to this summer already? Chances are, the staple at the party is cookout-style eats aka meats. Challenge you, and your guest, to focus on a vegetarian party. Check out these recipes for some ideas.
  2. Go meatless: Similar to the above, try out at least one meal, day, week, or more meatless! Not only is this a way to opt for more veggies, but going sans-meat has a ton of health benefits. Especially if you have a history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or chronic fatigue. Powered by plants is a thing!
  3. Shop local: We are fortunate to have access to so many farmers in our area. Check this out for all of the markets in wake county. Kids hungry? Take them to the NC State Farmers Market and have them pick something out! Bonus if it’s something new. And no, kettle corn and cookies don’t count 😉
  4. Grow yer own: What better way for you and your family to learn how food makes it to your plate than to grow your own? Now, of course, not all of us have acres of land to sow. Check out this beginners guide for small plot gardening. While living in NYC, I got pretty creative with how to have some herbs/greenery in my space. Window sills are your best friend! Check out this guide if you have an apartment and/or no yard space!
  5. Join a CSA: CSA (community-supported agriculture) are a great way to connect with your food locally. You can subscribe to a variety of sources like this these to have fresh, local, and seasonal produce delivered to your door or set at a pick-up location. MisFit markets is another option, though not as locally based.
  6. Support a community garden: On July 9th, Carpenter Park is having an open house. You can volunteer to help support this community garden learn about organic gardening, and maybe even take home a thing or two!
  7. Prevent food waste: This truly requires a seperate post. But, there are so many ways to do this. Focusing specifically on fruits/veggies, learn how to use the whole plant, plant the scraps, use veggie scraps for broth, or compost.
  8. Educate: You might asking yourself, “what’s in this for me? It seems like a lot of work!”. Beyond connecting with your community, learning about how food is grown, perhaps teaching your family a thing or two, there are so many different unique health benefits of fruits and veggies. Check out this alphabet of health benefits!
  9. Be sneaky: Maybe you have some picky kids (or, you are a picky big kid) who don’t like veggies. There are SO many ways to get veggies in your meals. One of our members has adopted the hack of frozen cauliflower in their smoothies 🙂

Happy almost-summer and happy harvesting!