Do you like fruits and vegetables? Candy and chips may be tasty, but they won’t fill you up and provide you with vitamins and nutrients like fruits and veggies, also known as produce. And even better, you can purchase fruits and vegetables grown right here in Greenfield – or plant your own! Here are a few tips for eating healthy and local in Hancock County this summer.
First of all, why is it important to eat your fruits and vegetables? Produce is packed with essential vitamins to help you grow up big and strong, and they also have a lot of fiber to help keep you regular in the bathroom. Plus, fruits and veggies are easy-to-grab snacks and most of them provide their own packaging in the form of peels, meaning less plastic is going to a landfill.
At the grocery store, you are likely to find just about any type of produce available all year-round, but have you noticed they may not taste as good in the winter or spring? That’s because when fruits and vegetables are in season, they have been grown more naturally. If you pick out produce at a farmers’ market or local shop, you will usually get some of the most flavorful and ripe items. For example, in early July in Indiana, you’ll want to have your parents shop for food like strawberries, broccoli, cabbage and kale which are currently in season.
Visit a farmers’ market
Visiting a farmer’s market with your family is a great way to support local small businesses and eat produce that is currently in season. Greenfield is home to the Farmers’ Market at the Fairgrounds, located at the Hancock County Fairgrounds by Riley Park. Open every Saturday morning from May through October (and with a limited schedule in the winter) you can find your favorite fruits and veggies for sale here, as well as locally made crafts and desserts – if you finish your veggies first!
The Fortville Farmers’ Market is also located in Hancock County in downtown Fortville near Sunrise Bakery. If you play summer sports on Saturdays, this is a great weekday option since it is open on Thursdays from May through September. Do you have a four-legged friend who would enjoy visiting the farmers’ market with your family? Dogs are welcome at the Fortville Farmers’ Market as long as they are kept on a short leash and away from products to be sold.
Plant your own garden
Although the hot days of summer are a little late to plant your own garden (usually you want to shoot for mid to late spring) there are still some options for growing your own produce at home. Leafy greens and carrots, which are usually planted in the cooler days of early spring, can also grow quite quickly as a last-minute harvest when planted in the late summer. If you have an apple tree or fruit bush in your yard, those fruits generally won’t be ready until late summer. And you can grow herbs for seasoning your family’s meals all year-round on a well-lit windowsill.
Go to a U-Pick farm
Hancock County is also home to a number of farms and greenhouses that either allow you to pick your own healthy and local produce or sell it in their farm stores. Sunnyside Greenhouses sells both seeds and small seedlings (a baby plant that has just sprouted to plant at home) for tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, broccoli, herbs, strawberries, blueberries and more. Plus, they often host an in-season produce stand that is open in late summer and paid for on the honor system.
Tuttle Orchards is another Hancock County tradition that families love to visit. Coming up soon is their Berry Cherry Celebration from July 11-30, when blueberries and cherries will be in season to purchase fresh, blended into a smoothie or baked into yummy treats like donuts and pies. The Peach Celebration will be next from August 1-20, and you can always pick up fresh in-season produce as well as frozen or canned items in their Farm Store.
What is your favorite fruit or vegetable to eat when it’s in season? Do you and your family prefer to shop for produce locally or would you like to start your own garden?