As the seasons change, so do the ripening fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce is very important here at The Northwest School. We have a conscientious food program with fruits and vegetables grown in the school’s garden. You can prepare for the change in seasons with the NWS community by learning about what’s in this season’s produce and browsing farmers markets here in Seattle.
In-season foods grow without the need for human-induced additives because they are less reliant on chemicals to help them grow. Seasonal produce in Washington also travels fewer miles to get to us in Seattle, which reduces carbon emissions. Whereas imported produce requires chemicals to create the right artificial environment the produce can grow in; they often travel thousands of miles, releasing significant amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Eating in season is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint as a consumer.
Health-wise, produce grown in season is full of nutrients and has fewer chemicals involved in the growing process. Out-of-season produce can’t follow natural growing cycles and needs more chemicals and preservatives to survive the transportation process. While many of those chemicals are safe, it’s healthier to avoid them. There’s nothing like eating fresh.
Consuming produce that is in season is an additional way to give your immune systems a boost to help you stay healthy. Flu season is coming, which means your immune system is going to need more energy. The produce is fresher, tastier, and perfectly ripe for you to get the full nutritional value.
Eating fresh produce is always good, but eating in-season fruits and vegetables is even more beneficial. Trying new fruits and vegetables that are in season can help you gain access to a more varied palate. Here are some produce options that are in season now:
- Root vegetables: carrots, garlic, squash, pumpkin, potatoes
- Green vegetables: broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, kale, lettuce, spinach
- Fruit: apples, grapes, mangos, pears, raspberries
- Herbs: cinnamon, ginger, mint, rosemary, thyme
For a more in-depth list of seasonal produce check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture Seasonal Produce Guide.
Here is a list of just a few meals you can make with the produce listed above:
- Pumpkin Pie
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Apple Cider
- Baked Potatoes
Farmers markets are the way to go when thinking about where to buy fresh seasonal produce. Here’s a list of Farmers markets here in Seattle you can visit to fill your kitchen with this season’s produce:
Pike Place Market – 9 minute drive from Northwest
Capital Hill Neighborhood Farmers Market– Open every Sunday
Madrona Farmers Market – Last day to visit is October 28th
University District Neighborhood Farmers Market – Open every Saturday
Ballard Farmers Market – Open year-round on Sundays
Our school aims for sustainability, and buying local seasonal produce means that it hasn’t traveled long distances. The produce farmers markets carry are all locally grown and in-season fruits and vegetables. Farmers Market produce is also more affordable due to its abundance. Shopping at these markets also gives you the opportunity to connect with the people who’ve grown your food and support your local farmers. Shopping at farmers markets benefits your health, the environment, and your communities. Enjoy fresh produce this fall!