Live Your Health
In 2010, after completing a rigorous application and site review process by Meals On Wheels America, we were awarded “Exemplary Status” Magnet Accreditation for our outstanding senior nutrition program.
With summer right around the corner, an abundance of local, fresh produce grown close to home is available. The seasonal farmer’s markets may already have opened near you. You may have seen or heard messages to “buy local” or “buy fresh,” but do you know why this is important?
According to the National Agricultural Library, a subset to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are many benefits to shopping at farmers markets. For example, not only are you supporting the local farmer and economy, but you also are purchasing produce that was freshly picked. Because it was recently picked, and did not have to travel far for you to purchase it, the produce is at its flavor and nutritional peak.
These fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, which may lower the risk of certain diseases. Furthermore, you can talk directly to the farmer about how the food was grown, and the farmers often have recipes and advice on how to prepare the foods.
In addition to all of the benefits you receive from shopping at farmers markets, the environment also thanks you. The Farmers Market Coalition reports that locally sourced produce travels about 27 times less distance as compared to the conventionally sourced counterpart. Less waste and pollution are created, and sustainability is a significant benefit to this system, the coalition says.
Use the local paper or the internet to find a farmer’s market near you. Some even accept WIC and SNAP benefits. And you may have heard that Meals On Wheels of Northampton County participates in “Buy Fresh Buy Local Greater Lehigh Valley.” This program puts locally grown farm fresh produce, picked at its peak of flavor and nutrition, delivered right to the door of seniors in Northampton County.
If you or a loved one receives Meals on Wheels, the broccoli, tomatoes and squash may have come from Casa Bianca Farms (Mount Bethel); mushrooms from Primordia Farm (Lenhartsville); and, apples, peaches, pears, and plums from Scholl Orchards (Bethlehem). Other local farms that Meals On Wheels partners with include Hunter Hills (Easton), St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm (Easton), Twin Maple Farm (Bath) and Ontelaunee Orchards (Leesport).
Take advantage of summer’s bounty and visit your local farm or farmers market. You may also enjoy farm-fresh produce prepared for you from Meals On Wheels or at your local farm-to-table restaurant!
Hayley Daubert is a registered and licensed dietitian and nutritionist who consults with Meals On Wheels of Northampton County and other organizations. For more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.