Summer Fruits & Vegetables to Try Right Now!

July 02, 2019

In Southern California, we have the greatest selection of colorful, flavorful, and nutritious fruits and vegetables year-round, but we get even luckier during the summer. Juicy melons, plump berries, succulent stone fruits, and vitamin-packed vegetables will soon be overflowing farmer’s market stalls, roadside stands, local shops, and backyard gardens.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular summer fruits and veggies that you can add to your meal planning.

 

Apples

Curly hair girl biting an apple

Harvested in mid- to late-summer, there are more than a dozen varieties available. Ranging from tart (such as the traditional green Granny Smith) to sweet (hello, Honeycrisp!), apples are high in fiber and antioxidants, low in calories, and provide such a range of flavors that some are ideal for snacking, while others are better for baking.

 

Berries

Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are all bursting with vitamin C and antioxidants, and are a great source of fiber. These fragrant, colorful fruits are incredibly versatile—try them on their own, in smoothies, in pies, as toppings for oatmeal and yogurt, and more.

 

Cherries

Man hands holding a bunch of cherries and a box of cherries behind

Available from late spring and through the summer, around 20 varieties are widely available in the U.S. Cherries are typically divided into sweet (best for snacking) and tart (best for baking). Both types deliver vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and are low in calories.

 

Corn

Boy in a cornfield holding a bunch of corns

This barbecue favorite is rich in healthy minerals and vitamins A, B, and E. High in fiber and weighing in at only 100 calories an ear, corn fits in with a nutritional diet or weight-loss efforts. Just-picked corn is so sweet and flavorful, all you have to do is grill it lightly and add a pinch of salt – no butter required.

 

Cucumbers

The saying “cool as a cucumber” really does apply to this summer favorite. Coming into season when SoCal’s temperatures start to soar, cucumbers are fiber-rich and nearly 95% water to keep you full and hydrated. Packed with vitamins, minerals, folic acid, and carbohydrates, they make a light, refreshing snack on their own, or can be used in cool summer soups, salads, sandwiches, and more.

 

Eggplant

Farmer holding a wood box full with eggplants

Recognizable for its rich purple skin (though it is available in other colors), the eggplant is delicious when grilled, roasted, or baked, and it’s a staple of many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. High in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water, eggplants are sometimes used as a meat replacement in vegetarian dishes.

 

Garlic

At its best in late summer and early fall, garlic comes in a number of nutritious and delicious varieties. High in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, this super food is believed to be good for battling bad cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. Garlic is used in all kinds of cooking and food preparation including sauces, dressings, spreads, and in recipes from cultures around the world.

 

Watermelon

Latino mom and daughter eating watermelon at a park

Is there any fruit that says “summer” more than watermelon? Slice it, cube it, grill it, freeze it, serve it with savory snacks, or make juices and drinks—there are countless ways to enjoy this flexible fruit. Jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, this refreshing melon is also high in lycopene—an antioxidant currently being studied for its health effects related to the heart and certain cancers.

 

Try Them All!

Table full with plates of different fruits at the lunch hour

Take some time to explore the wide variety of fresh healthy eating options in the produce section this time of year – you may be able to get some of these spring staples and fall favorites, too. From the deep reds and blues of berries, to the deep green of cucumbers, now is the time to exercise your taste buds. Add some color to your plate!

 

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Eating Until You’re Color-Full

July 30, 2018

Colorful foods aren’t just nice to look at, they offer a lot of benefits to your health! 

berries

Red, Blue, and Purple Food:

  • They can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, urinary tract infections, and memory loss.
  •  These foods contain potassium, vitamins A and C, and folate. 
  • They are known for anti-inflammatory properties, helping to protect against cell damage, and keeping the heart, blood, joint, and immune systems healthy. 
  • Foods include tomatoes, pomegranates, berries, watermelon, cabbage, beets, eggplant, grapes, raisins, cherries, kidney beans, and red pepper.

 

lemons

 Orange and Yellow Food:

  • They can improve immune function and lower the risk of heart disease, vision problems and cancer. 
  • These foods contain folate, potassium, bromium, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium. 
  • They are known for flushing out toxins and keeping the eyes, skin, teeth, and bones healthy. 
  • Try carrots, lemons, oranges, corn, peaches, nectarines, mango, squash, pineapple, bell pepper, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes. 
     

avacados

Green Food:

  •  They can lower the risk of cancer and vision problems. 
  •  These foods contain folate and vitamins A, C, and K. 
  •   They are known for fighting free radicals, helping prevent blood clots, and regulating blood sugar. 
  • Foods include leafy greens like kale, spinach and arugula, green apples, limes, kiwi, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, green beans, grapes, and broccoli. 


garlic

White Food:

  • They can lower the risk for stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancers like colorectal cancer.  
  • These foods contain potassium, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin C. 
  •  They are known for providing essential dietary fiber and supporting the immune and circulatory systems.
  •  Try pears, bananas, cauliflower, mushrooms, ginger, dates, potatoes, garlic, onions, black eyed peas, and white nectarines. 


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we should all try to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day in a variety of colors. So go ahead and fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits and veggies! 

 

5 Spring Fruits & Vegetables: Healthy, Delicious, Available Now

April 04, 2019

Spring is the season of fresh starts, new beginnings, and a flavorful crop of fruits and vegetables. Eating colorfully offers more than unique flavors. In-season goodies provide nutritional benefits for health, beauty, and diet.

We’ve put together a list of our top five springtime picks of the most delicious, versatile, and colorful options this season.

 

 

Artichokes

Artichokes vegetable picture

This flower-like veggie made its way from the Mediterranean to California where today we produce nearly all the artichokes for the U.S.! Once boiled or steamed, the tender base of the artichoke leaves can be eaten, usually dipped in hollandaise, mayonnaise or aioli, while the tough upper part of the leaf is discarded. When the leaves are peeled away, the soft, flavorful heart—the most delicious part of the artichoke—is revealed. 

Artichokes are filled with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals good for overall health and glowing skin. They also reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels, are high in fiber (this helps you stay feeling full longer) aid with digestion, and help keep blood sugars stable.

 

Asparagus

Asparagus vegetable picture

These nutrient-packed stalks are full of vitamins and minerals. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked, served plain or in fancy sauces. Asparagus is often served alongside other spring vegetables like potatoes, peas, and garlic, but make a great roasted side dish or add-in for stir-fry meals. Best-served immediately after purchase, asparagus is available in three colors—green (the most common), white, and the sweeter, more tender purple spears.

 Asparagus is anti-inflammatory, helps with digestion, aids with weight management, and may even reduce the risk for cancer.

 

 

Rhubarb

Rhubarb vegetable fruit

Crisp rhubarb stalks are firm and glossy. Rhubarb’s texture is similar to celery, but it’s usually served in desserts. Known for its very tart taste and bright pink stalk, rhubarb is also known for its poisonous deep green leaves—be sure only to eat the stalk! The stalks are usually stewed with sugar and spices to make jams, sauces for cakes and other sweets, and mixed with strawberries and sugar to make filling for pies, tarts, and crumbles.

 Packed with fiber, rhubarb can aid weight loss and rev up the metabolism, improves digestion, boosts skin health, improves circulation, contributes to heart-health, and provides vitamins and minerals. With a list of benefits like that, we should all be adding rhubarb to our shopping carts!

 

 

Spring Onions

Spring onions picture

Recognizable by their green stems and white bulbs, spring onions (also known as scallions) are famous for their versatility in cooking and food preparation, as well as their health properties. A sweet, mild option when compared to their closest relatives—garlic, onion, leek, and shallot— spring onions are often used as a garnish, sautéed with other vegetables, or served pickled. Their pungent flavor lends itself to salads, salsas, soups, and many Asian dishes.

 Spring onions contain a number of vitamins, including beta-carotene, that contribute to healthy skin and good vision. They are naturally fat-free and low in calories, full of calcium, iron, and other nutrients. Because they are high in fiber, they are an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

 

 

Strawberries

Strawberries fruit picture

You already know and love strawberries, and they’re at their peak in spring. Eat them on their own as a dessert, or toss them into salads, smoothies, and cereal.

 Here’s a tasty fact: In one study, women who ate strawberries regularly were 34% less likely to have suffered a heart attack! Strawberries boast a wide range of heart-healthy benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and promoting healthy blood pressure. Because of their relatively low glycemic index, strawberries are a sweet treat for those with type 2 diabetes – strawberries can even help protect against diabetes and pre-diabetes. They’re full of fiber and, ounce for ounce, have more vitamin C than oranges.

 

 

Thank you Cali!

Two women in a street market watching the fruits

Fruits and vegetables like the fresh finds mentioned here are essential for healthy bodies, delicious additions to your regular diet, and affordable in-season. Thanks to Southern California’s sunny weather, you can also find these five favorites to give you a little variety. You should be able to find all of these fruits and veggies at your local farmer’s market or supermarket.

 Get creative with recipes and learn new ways that you and your family can enjoy and take advantage of the many fresh spring flavors now available to you.