For three months each year, the ground is hard and little grows. But with the warm weather, our taste buds can once again sparkle to fresh vegetables, fruits and the nutrients they share.Thanks to shipping from warm-weather climates, we can get vegetables all year round. But there is no vegetable shipped from far away that will have quite the same taste and nutrients as a vegetable grown closer to home.
At farmers’ and produce markets throughout the city, Harlmeites have many opportunities to find fresh vegetables. Each vegetable and locally grown fruit has a season where flavor is at its peak.
Blueberries, for example, start to ripen in May and June. Corn is available through the peak of summer and tomatoes reach their local peak in late summer and early fall.
So, now that we’ve got them, what do we want to do with them? This fruit salsa with tomatoes and basil, courtesy of Harvest Home farmers markets, takes no time to make and jumps with flavor.
With sweet fruits and a little bit of spicy tang, it is a family pleaser high in vitamins A, C and E, which promote a healthy immune system and cardiovascular health.
3 ripe firm stone fruits: nectarines, peaches or apricots or a combination
3 large tomatoes
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
20 leaves basil
1/2 small bunch of cilantro
1/2 small bunch of parsley
3 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
Preparation: Wash and cut fruit and tomatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Put into mixing bowl. Mince onion and garlic and place into bowl. Wash basil, cilantro and parsley and chop them and add into bowl. Squeeze juice from lemons into bowl being careful to not get seeds into the mixture. With spoon, combine all ingredients in the bowl.
The best part of healthy eating is finding the right ingredients at the peak of flavor and combining them in an exciting way. After all, it’s our meal and we want to enjoy it. Here we can have our taste and our vitamins, too.
Tina Gowin is a full-time registered dietitian at EmblemHealth, one of New York’s largest and most comprehensive health plans. EmblemHealth is a sponsor of Harvest Home, which provides access to locally grown fruits and vegetables at the Mt. Morris Park Historic District and West Harlem Farmer’s Markets through November. Cooking demonstrations occur at each farmer’s market through Oct. 27, 2012 and Nov. 20, 2012, respectively.