It is summertime! It is the perfect time to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden or your local Farmer’s Market. Check out the USDA’s Seasonal Produce Guide and discover which fruits and vegetables are in season right now. Get recipes and enjoy a healthy and fresh dinner tonight!
The 15th annual Florida Agriculture Literacy Day is scheduled for Tuesday, May 1, 2018. This will be the fourth and final book in a series of non-fiction children’s books developed that highlights Florida’s fruit industries. Agriculture Literacy Day will be moving to the fall in the 2018-2019 school year.
The book, Drive through Florida: Fruit features the animated red truck named ‘Ole Red’ that takes students on a tour around Florida to learn about our diverse fruit industries.
Readers are expected to schedule their classroom visits, and are asked to schedule those visits before they order materials. Registration for materials, which includes one book for the teacher and one bookmark and sticker per student, is available on FAITC’s website. To learn more about and register for Florida Agriculture Literacy Day, visit http//faitc.org/aglitday/
The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends school-based gardening interventions in combination with nutrition education to increase vegetable consumption among children. Gardening interventions provide children with hands-on experience planting, growing, and harvesting fruits and vegetables in an effort to increase their willingness to consume both. The recommendation is based on results from the systematic review cited below, additional information abstracted from a subset of included studies, and expert input from subject matter experts and the CPSTF:
Savoie-Roskos MR, Wengreen H, Durward C. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake among children and youth through gardening-based interventions: a systematic review. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2017;11(2);240-50.
Why is this important?
- Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity (CDC, 2017)
- Most people in the United States, including children and adolescents, do not eat enough fruits and vegetables (CDC, 2017; CDC, 2013)
- Gardening interventions have been shown to increase children’s preferences for, and willingness to try, new fruits and vegetables (Robinson-O’Brien et al, 2009).
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Nutrition: Gardening Interventions to Increase Vegetable Consumption Among Children— read the summary of evidence.
Gardening Interventions to Increase Vegetable Consumption Among Children — use this one-pager as a quick reference
Students at Cheney Elementary received a surprise before the holiday break — Fresh Stop, a mobile farmer’s market serving food desert communities in Central Florida — made a special stop at Cheney for a holiday produce give-away. Students received a small gift, apple cider and over 2,000 lbs of produce were donated.
Adapted from Produce for Kids
We try to get as many fruits and vegetables into our child’s diet as possible but it can be expensive and take a lot of time! A great solution to decrease cost and time is to incorporate frozen produce. Here are some tips from our friends at Produce for Kids to help you ensure your child is getting their five servings of fruits and vegetables even when their favorites may not be in season:
- Stir-it up. A simple veggie stir-fry utilizing a bag of frozen veggies, sautéed with peanut sauce and piled on a serving of steamed brown rice is a go-to recipe. You can check it out by clicking here.
- Get souped. It’s such a shame to let your beautiful leafy greens wilt and make their way to the trash. Instead, opt for frozen spinach or kale to add in soups or casseroles for an added boost of fiber and nutrients, without the risk of spoiled produce.
- Embrace the smoothie craze. If you’re one of those people that repeatedly falls short on meeting your fruit and veggie goal, start your day with a smoothie. You can add all kinds of powerful plant foods, from berries to greens to tropical fruits! Even better, enjoy your creation smoothie-bowl style. Allow yourself the chance to sit down and mindfully “eat your smoothie.”
- Be innovative. Thawed, frozen corn is a delicious addition to homemade salsas while thawed, frozen peas add a burst of flavor and texture to veggie-heavy salads. And fruit can be used in a variety of baked goods, such as breads and muffins. When baking with frozen raspberries, leave them frozen until you are ready to add to the batter so they maintain their integrity and won’t “bleed.”
- Feast on fruit for dessert. You won’t only be satisfying your sweet tooth with fruit, you’ll be consuming more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, too. Thawed, frozen raspberries topped with a spoonful of yogurt, a drizzle of dark chocolate or a sprinkling of homemade granola might just change the way you look at dessert.
- Get saucy. Frozen fruit is ideal for creating a fruit compote to top on your pancakes or waffles. Or better yet, let your frozen fruit take a walk on the wild side and create the sweet-savory balance by using it as an ingredient for a marinade or salsa in your dinner recipes.
Click here for more information, including yummy recipes!
Are you curious what produce is in season in the winter? Check out this list of fruit and vegetables that are in-season in the winter. Remember – you can eat fresh fruits and vegetables all year long! Also, be sure to check out what local farmers markets are open in the winter under the “Winter Markets” tab on the USDA National Farmers Markets Directory.
Knowing what fresh produce is in season when you head to the store can not only save you money, but also means that you’ll be enjoying fruits and veggies at their peak. Click here for seasonal recipes to try with these ingredients!
Looking to plant an edible garden or herb garden over the Thanksgiving break? UF IFAS provides these infographics to help you with your garden.