fresh local food

QuickStart Guide to fresh local food

Welcome new members!

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Get a larger, easy-to-read, downloadable, printable version here, or click anywhere on the post below.

QuickStart Guide to fresh local food

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

how update or skip deliveries

Deliveries! How to update, skip, or get a replacement!

From the “News You Can Use” Department

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Get a larger, easy-to-read, downloadable, printable version here, or click anywhere on the post below.

how to update or skip deliveries

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

Meet your local farmers

Get to know some of the folks who feed you and your family

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Get a larger, easy-to-read, downloadable, printable version here, or click anywhere on the post below.

local food local farmers

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

5 tips to keep fresh local produce FRESH

Keep all those great nutrients & flavor from slipping away

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Get a larger, easy-to-read, downloadable, printable version here, or click anywhere on the post below.

how to keep fresh local food fresh

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

Share the love!

Help spread the word about fresh local food!

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Get a larger, easy-to-read, downloadable, printable version here, or click anywhere on the post below.

share the love of fresh local food

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

empanadas easy meal how to

Easy meal: Greek salad & empanadas

Easy meals don’t have to be “fast food” — watch this video to see how good for you easy can be

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Easy meals… because, hey, who doesn’t love easy? Whether your days are spent working from home, essential working away from home, homeschooling, caring for a loved one, watching way too much daytime television, or all of the above (whew!) — an easy meal that’s also good for you is just what the doctor ordered.

EASY MEAL STEP 1

This easy meal starts with empanadas from My Empanada. Claudia and Juan make their empanadas with a variety of meat or vegetable fillings, so there’s something for everyone. You’ll find My Empanada under the Prepared Foods tab in the Seasonal Roots online farmers market most weekends.

(Read our profile of Claudia, Juan, and My Empanada.)

These fun, tasty, and good-for-you mainstays come frozen. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and take enough empanadas out of the freezer for everyone. Depending on the filling, light eaters will enjoy one or two and big eaters two or three, but certain teens in the middle of a growth spurt might eat at least half a dozen. Hey, we’ve seen it happen.

Brush each empanada with an egg wash. Then pop them in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they’re golden outside and piping hot inside.

EASY MEAL STEP 2

While they’re baking, throw together a Greek salad to go with. That’s easy, too.

Claudia shows you just how easy in this step-by-step how-to video:easy meal greek salad how to

Don’t have all the exact ingredients? No worries. Sheltering in place is all about shopping the pantry. Substitute whatever greens, tomatoes, olives, cheese, or nuts you do have. If you’re out of cucumber, you can even slice up zucchini in place of a cuke. We promise it’ll still be delicious.

When time’s up, you’ll pull those golden empanadas out of the oven, pass around the salad, and enjoy… without ever breaking a sweat!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

home delivery during coronavirus pandemic

Home delivery for healthcare heroes and you — this is why we do it

You tell us home delivery is making a difference. That’s all we Veggie Fairies need to know to keep going strong !

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Home delivery is really helpful even in the best of times. Right now, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, home delivery may literally be a lifesaver. For us Veggie Fairies, just knowing that is enough to make all our hard work worthwhile.

But as we make our rounds wearing our personal protective equipment and maintaining social distancing, you — our wonderful members old and new — have been going out of your way to cheer us on. You’ve been sending us emails, texts, social media shout outs, and even handwritten notes.

home delivery of fresh local food

Well, right back at’cha! We really appreciate you, too! For starters, you’ve donated thousands of dollars to help us deliver free fresh local food to our healthcare heroes.

Thank you for continuing to deliver during these trying times. Also TY for adding the give-back to healthcare professionals fund. I was so happy to be able to donate to that when I placed my order. ❤️
— Janelle

HOME DELIVERY HELPS HEALTHCARE HEROES

These are the healthcare professionals Seasonal Roots wonderful members have nominated for their selfless work. They’re on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronoavirus. At the end of a long shift, it can be hard for them to find the time and energy to get to a grocery store.

Those heroes are telling us things like this:

I really appreciate it. I’m currently taking care of covid19 patients and having food delivered really means the world to me. Takes off some stress, much needed.
— Katie

I got my first box through the healthcare program and I can’t say thank you enough!! These are some great looking veggies and they taste so good! I will definitely stick around and become a customer after my healthcare trial is done! Thank you!!!!!!!!
— Megan

home delivery during coronavirus pandemic

So to all of you who’ve donated and nominated — thank you for helping us do this good work!

HELPING VEGGIE FAIRIES?

Yep, our members have been helping US, too! Sometimes y’all just make us go, “Aaawww….”

home delivery during coronavirus pandemic

Hope you guys are all safe and healthy! Thanks for still providing your service to us!
— Paige

Thank you for still delivering! I just love ya’ll even more for doing that for the community. I hope that you stay healthy and safe!
-Jess

THANK YOU 🙏🏼 for today’s delivery!! This is such an amazing service — even more so now 😘
— Bev

Thank you for still keeping everything running. Very much appreciated.
— An Appreciative Member

I’m so proud of Seasonal Roots adapting to this unique environment. Great job to all of you!
— Debbie

HOME DELIVERY IS HELPING MORE LOCAL FAMILIES STAY HOME

We’ve also heard from new members of our local food community…

home delivery of fresh local food

We can’t wait for our first order this week!! Thank you for providing this amazing service!
— A New Member

Just signed up this week and referred a friend who also signed up! We are so excited to support local and get yummy food delivered Wednesday!
— Kar

Received our first delivery today. I am impressed and for someone trying to stay home, fresh veggies and fruits are wonderful. Thank you.”
— Teresa

We just joined last week. I just want to thank you so much for continuing to deliver the fresh food each week! We have always wanted to support this type of service, but it took this to make us take the jump. We couldn’t be happier. We love meal planning around the delivery and look forward to continuing for years to come. Thank you!
— Kimberly

And then there was this, from a military family going through a doubly tough time:

I can’t tell you how much we are enjoying our time as members of Seasonal Roots already, my children are enjoying their vegetables. YES I SAID ENJOYING… they are eating them and happy about it. The surprise and variety the boxes brought them was amazing and they dived into helping me prepare food this week and devoured their meals.
Thank you for not just keeping us fed during this trying time, but also bringing some joy and calm to my children and me. We were already not enjoying this year as it contains a very long deployment for my husband, and with everything on top of it, it’s just been a very heavy time.
I am so glad I just jumped at the chance to join Seasonal Roots when I had the chance. Thanks again.
— Mary

To Mary and everyone who has joined recently, we’re so glad we can help lighten the load!

HOME DELIVERY HELPS LOCAL FARMERS & FOOD ARTISANS, TOO

Home delivery of local food is a real win-win these days:

My neighbors and I are so appreciative of Seasonal Roots, especially during these times. Helps us stay home and rely on your service while supporting regional and local farmers!
— Jina

home delivery during coronavirus pandemic

Thanks ya’ll for sourcing from our network of remarkable producers – 100% pasture-raised outdoors on small family farms.
— Firsthand Foods

In addition to helping farmers and artisans get through this, their local food is helping families stay healthy… and even rediscovering the joys of fresh food!

The collards last week were the most beautiful and delicious I’ve ever had. We look forward to our box every week. Thank you!!! 💜
— Michelle

My @seasonal_roots box came with the largest carrots I’ve ever seen! I roasted some up with bell peppers and paired them with baked tofu for tonight’s dinner.
— A Big Carrot, Pepper & Tofu Fan

Thank you for the beautiful produce! Strawberries have already been devoured by everyone. 😊
— Evelyn

We appreciate you! Such a beautiful delivery this week!
— Pamela

If you need a little more joy in the kitchen, check out this joyful story from a Seasonal Roots member and small business owner.

home delivery during coronavirus pandemic

Thanks, everybody! We’ll get through this… TOGETHER!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

join our team - williamsburg

Join our team: Help deliver healthy eating to your neighbors!

Work with good people and do good work for the planet when you join our team

By Lindsey C, Veggie Fairy & neighborhood Market Manager

Join our team become a Seasonal Roots Veggie Fairy

Join our team!

No two Veggie Fairies are alike, but they all have wings as far as the Seasonal Roots family is concerned. And we are hiring smiling faces and sunny attitudes to join our team. Seasonal Roots neighborhood Market Managers hand-deliver locally sourced goodness on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Have kids? Bring them along! Can’t commit to a weekly Market Manager gig? Sign on as a substitute!⁠ Looking for a little more responsibility? From time to time we have openings for Area Managers, too.⁠

⁠⁠Contact Jamila for Wednesday openings in NOVA and Montgomery County, MD.⁠ ⁠⁠Contact Sherri for Thursday openings in RVA, Tidewater, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach areas.

Join our team help deliver healthy eating

That first delivery day…

I will never forget my first morning of deliveries for Seasonal Roots. I loaded my van up with three sleepy kids and drove to my first party stop. The early morning air felt good on my face as I walked towards the truck full of local produce.

I watched two ladies pull boxes from the truck and move around each other in perfect sync. They stacked and went through boxes, making sure to help each other out where they could. Where one lacked, the other would come in and pick up the slack.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being introduced to a special kind of work environment that makes delivery days run smooth. After working with these girls for a few weeks I quickly realized that the three of us could not be more different. Where one is super organized, the other goes with the flow. Where one thinks about doing things a certain way, the other will think the complete opposite every time. It is strange, but it works for us as a team.

My fellow Veggie Fairies

join our team - williamsburg

The Williamsburg Veggie Fairy Team: Emily, Lindsey & Corina

First, there is Corina, our fearless leader. If I had to come up with one word to describe Corina her word would be loyal. She has a special way of making you feel like she has your back no matter what happens. Plus, she never asks anything of her team that she herself is not willing to do. This woman works hard at keeping us in between the lines. She’s a mom to 4 kiddos, a pharmacy technician during the week, and our Williamsburg Area Manager.

Next, we have Emily. She is incredibly creative and brings a sense of calm to our group. For example, over the summer she designed a bag that helps keep the glass milk bottles from exploding during the hot summer months. A day without unexploded milk bottles is a day worth celebrating! She owns her own business, HarsaGirl, making beautiful things for babies and kids in celebration of motherhood. She, too, is a mom, an entrepreneur, and delivers produce to your door every Thursday morning.

Then there’s me. I’m a military wife and a stay-at-home mom to three small children. I enjoy writing and run a Facebook Page, Love, Faith, and Tons of Grace. So, aside from being completely lost the first few months on the job, I have done my best to bring a little extra humor to the group.

All for one and one for all!

Our Williamsburg team is small but hardworking. We work together to get the job done. And no one leaves the party stop until we are all finished. I am thankful for these girls who welcomed me to the team and I look forward to our year ahead!

Meet another Veggie Fairy, who dishes about helping her kids eat veggies.

Take a tour of THE HUB where we pack up all our local goodies for delivery.

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Seasonal Roots is much more than an online market — we’re a community of farmers, artisans, and members. We’re all dedicated to eating healthy, buying local, protecting the environment, raising animals sustainably and humanely, and spreading joy to our friends, family, and neighbors.

Since 2011, we’ve been empowering our members to live better by eating better. That means more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. Every week, we provide you with hand-picked local produce, sustainable meat and dairy, and hand-crafted artisan goods — all hand-delivered direct from Dirt to Doorstep®.

how to store fresh vegetables

How to store fresh vegetables & fruits

Make fresh taste and nutrition last when you store fresh vegetables & fruits!

By the Veggie Fairy Team:

GET YOUR RED HOT PRINTABLE PDF DOWNLOAD OF OUR HANDY DANDY STORAGE CHEAT SHEET RIGHT HERE!

You have to store fresh vegetables and fruits in order to eat fresh vegetables and fruits — that’s just a fact of life. Word to the wise: If you don’t store nature’s bounty the right way, you can undermine the whole reason why you’re making an effort to eat it in the first place.

When you eat fresh local produce, you’re eating the most nutritious, delicious food you can get. It’s picked at the peak of ripeness shortly before you receive it. But it doesn’t last forever. It’s not like grocery store produce, which is usually grown far away, picked early for the lengthy trip, and then waxed and sprayed with preservatives so it will look beautiful and “fresh” for an unnaturally long period time.

Fact is, grocery store produce looks great long after many of the nutrients inside have faded away.

(Read more: Real fresh vs fake fresh)

With local food, what you see is what you get. If it looks fresh, that’s because it really is. The key is to handle and store it right.

Now if you’re in a hurry, skip to the end to get to the bottom line: Our handy dandy cheat sheet that tells you exactly how to store most local and regional produce items.

But if you’ve got a minute, first check out these additional strategies and background info that will help you get the most out of your fresh veggies and fruits.

1. Eat fast

The longer your produce sits in your fridge or pantry, the more nutrients slowly disappear. You get good stuff (like perishable enzymes) from fresh food that you can’t get from anything else, so don’t let your fresh local food go to waste.

(Read more: Why you should eat raw food and keep it on hand)

But you don’t have to eat everything all at once! Simply…

2. Prioritize

To avoid wasting produce, prioritize it so you eat it in the right order. Eat the produce with the shortest life span first, like berries or salad greens or green beans. Once they’re eaten, the more long-lived produce will be waiting for you, with most of their nutrients still intact.

So each week after your order arrives:

  • Indulge in the DIVAS right away: Berries, broccoli, cherries, green beans, leafy greens, mushrooms, peaches and plums (if soft and ripe), peas, and sweet corn.
  • Dive into the more moderate there-for-you BESTIES next — no rush, but don’t wait forever: Cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, grapes, green onions, greens from root veggies, herbs, leeks, peppers, radishes, summer squashes, and tomatoes.
  • Save the LOW MAINTENANCE BROS for last. Even if you don’t get them eaten during the week, they can actually kick back and last for a couple weeks, so long as they’re in their happy place. These include: Apples, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, onions, pears, potatoes, root veggies, and winter squashes.
  • Now on to the part where we tell you how to store fresh vegetables and fruit after your local farmers harvest it for you.

    3. QC before you store fresh vegetables & fruits

    Do a bit of quality control before you store your food. If there’s one mushy or moldy berry, toss it right away. A mushy item is a bad influence, and will lead everything that hangs out with it down the road to ruin.

    4. Do wait to wash

    You should definitely wash your produce to make sure it’s safe to eat. But wait to wash until right before you eat it or cook it. Until then, leave it in its original state and handle it as gently and as little as possible. Excess moisture and bruising accelerate decay and nutrient loss.

    5. Do wait to chop or peel

    Store fresh vegetables and fruits whole. While we love meal-prepping, if you prep too far in advance, fresh fruits and vegetables lose those precious nutrients. So hold off on peeling or cutting them up until you’re ready to use them. Peeling and chopping expose the insides to oxygen and light and that kills nutrients. Once you do slice into something ahead of time, store it sealed up and in the fridge until it’s time to use it.

    (Read more: 4 easy ways to max out your produce’s nutritional value)

    6. Don’t wait to refrigerate fresh vegetables & fruits

    For most fruits and veggies, a cold, dark place slows down decay and the loss of nutrients, because it inhibits destructive enzymes and the loss of vitamin C. B vitamins are particularly sensitive to heat and light.

    There are exceptions — namely citrus and any fruit that could use some ripening, plus garlic, ginger, potatoes, onions, winter squash, zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes.

    7. Don’t crowd your crops

    Make sure produce has room to “breathe” if it’s stored in a bag. If you cram too many items into a bag, more moisture builds up, more bruising happens, and the produce will spoil more quickly.

    8. The humidity factor: A detour into the crisper drawer

    In general, vegetables last longer in a more humid environment, while fruits prefer a slightly less humid environment. So store fresh vegetables separately from fresh fruit when you can.

    The typical crisper drawer is nothing more than a partition inside your refrigerator that offers a more humid environment than the rest of the interior. Some crispers have a sliding humidity control setting that ranges from low to high. Sometimes they’re labeled “vegetables” (high) and “fruit” (lower than the veggie crisper but still higher than the rest of the fridge).

    But of course, the real world isn’t as simple as these low-tech sliders, which usually just open or close a little vent in the drawer that allows moisture and ethylene gas to escape. The complicating factor is that ethylene gas.

    9. Beware the ethylene gas!

    It’s released by some fruits, including apples, apricots, melons, pears, peaches, plums, plus ripe tomatoes and avocados (but not unripe ones so much.)

    Meanwhile, ethylene gas causes ethylene-sensitive produce to ripen faster, which includes most veggies and some fruits (apples, apricots, avocados, cantaloupe, grapes, limes, mangos, honeydew melons, peaches, persimmons, tangerines, and watermelon.)

    So to keep the sensitive ones from turning into overripe mushes, you have to keep them away from the gassy ones. What do you do if a gassy emitter is also a sensitive hater, like an apple? As you’ll see on the cheat sheet at the end, you can keep it in the fruit crisper, or better yet on a shelf in the fridge.

    If you’re the analytical type, here’s an in-depth chart that lists the optimal storage conditions for most veggies and fruits and whether or not they’re an ethylene emitter or an ethylene hater. If you want to totally geek out with this, we’ve created a PDF of the chart that you can download to print and post on your fridge. It will mark you as an expert in how to store fresh vegetables and fruits.

    If you prefer a simpler guideline, here’s the ABC version:

  • A… Keep most fruits in the low humidity drawer along with onions you need to keep cold because you don’t plan to eat them for a long time — onions like low humidity and are neutral in the ethylene gas wars.
  • B… Keep vegetables in the high humidity drawer along with fruits that are gas sensitive haters and NOT emitters that you need to keep cold because you’re not going to eat them within a couple days: unripe avocados, grapes, persimmons, and watermelon.
  • C… Keep gassy emitters who are also sensitive haters on a counter if they’re not ripe yet, and on a shelf in the fridge once they are ripe: apples, apricots, avocados, cantaloupe, mangos, honeydew melons, peaches, pears, and plums.
  • 10. The “How to Store Fresh Vegetables & Fruits” CHEAT SHEET: Store each item in its happy place

    GET YOUR RED HOT PRINTABLE PDF DOWNLOAD OF OUR HANDY DANDY CHEAT SHEET RIGHT HERE!

    Should it go on a shelf in the fridge? Or in one of the fridge’s crisper drawers? In a cool, dark pantry? Or a sunny window? At long last, here’s our handy dandy cheat sheet to make it easy:

    When the storage advice for how to store fresh vegetables and fruits calls for plastic bags, you can always substitute plastic or glass storage containers for plastic bags. Store everything unwashed, uncut, and unpeeled. Wash and prep just before using.

    (For visual learners, here’s a helpful infographic that shows the happy places of some common fruits and veggies.)

    APPLES: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for a few days. To prolong freshness, store on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper, where they can last for a couple weeks. No need to bag them.

    APRICOTS: Store on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper, where they can last for a couple weeks.

    ARTICHOKES: Store in the vegetable crisper.

    ASPARAGUS: Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    AVOCADOS: Regionally grown winter avocados from Florida can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for a few days. To prolong freshness, store on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper. Do not bag them.

    BEANS, GREEN OR LIMA: Wrap in a paper towel in a loosely closed bag in the vegetable crisper.

    BEETS: Remove any greens and store them separately like other greens. Store beets in the vegetable crisper.

    BERRIES: Store in single layers divided by paper towels, inside a loosely closed bag or perforated container in the fruit crisper.

    BREAD: Store in an air tight container on the counter or in the pantry. In warm weather, if you can’t eat it within a few days, store it, sliced, in the freezer. (The fridge tends to dry bread out.) Defrost slices on the counter or briefly in the toaster and they’ll still be moist.

    BROCCOLI: Place in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper. Eat quickly; broccoli is surprisingly delicate.

    BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Quite resilient! You can store them on or off the stalk in the vegetable crisper. If you cut them off the stalk, leave all the outer leaves intact for an extra layer of protection and seal them in a bag. When it’s time to cook them, remove any leaves that don’t look good.

    CABBAGE: Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper and it will last for weeks.

    CANTALOUPE: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry or on a shelf in the fridge.

    CARROTS: Remove any greens and store them separately like other greens. Wrap carrots in paper towels in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper. If carrots get soft, just drop them in cold water for a few minutes.

    CAULIFLOWER: Wrap in paper towels and store in a plastic bag stem-side down in the vegetable crisper. Keep the head intact until use.

    CELERIAC: Store in the vegetable crisper.

    CELERY: Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper. If it gets soft, trim the ends of the stalks and place in a glass of cool water, or soak the whole stalk in cold water, and that should perk it up.

    CHERRIES: Cherries must, must, must be kept cold! Refrigerate in a plastic bag in the fruit crisper.

    CITRUS: Regionally grown winter citrus from Florida tastes best when stored and eaten at room temperature, so store on the counter or in the pantry. But if you can’t eat it within a few days, pop it in the fruit crisper.

    CORN: Store in the vegetable crisper in its husks but eat within a couple days. It can be roasted or grilled in its husks, too!

    CUCUMBERS: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for a day or two. Otherwise, wrap individually in paper towels and store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    EGGPLANT: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry. If you can’t eat it within a few days, seal it in a plastic bag in the crisper or on a shelf in the fridge, but eat within a week.

    FIGS: Store in fruit crisper.

    GARLIC: The kind that has a dry, papery outer skin and no greens can stay on the counter or in the pantry, or it can also be stored in the vegetable crisper.

    GINGER ROOT: Store on the counter or in the pantry.

    GRAPES: Seal in a plastic bag and store in the vegetable crisper, not the fruit crisper.

    GREENS: Includes everything that is mostly green and leafy, from kale, bok choy, lettuce, and spinach, to spring onions, spring garlic, and leeks; also greens cut from the tops of root vegetables. Go through them and immediately discard any leaves that are beyond wilted. Store greens unwashed, wrapped in paper towels, inside a sealed plastic bag, in the vegetable crisper. Use them as soon as you can. They can be a bit delicate. Just make sure you wash before eating!

    HERBS: Trim the ends of the stems (like flowers) and place in a glass of cool water on the counter until ready to use. This method will also help perk up any herb or greens, including celery, that may have wilted en route. To keep them going longer, you can put any herb except basil in the fridge, glass and all, with a plastic bag over it. But leave basil on the counter — the cold temps inside the fridge will quickly turn it black. You can still cook with it, but for fresh uses it gets pretty unappealing.

    HORSERADISH ROOT: Store in the vegetable crisper.

    JICAMA: Can be stored in a cool, dark corner of the pantry or countertop. You can also store them in the vegetable crisper.

    KOHLRABI: Store in the vegetable crisper.

    MANGOS: Regionally grown winter mangos from Florida can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for a few days. To prolong freshness, store on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper. No need to bag them.

    MELON, HONEYDEW: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry or on a shelf in the fridge.

    MUSHROOMS: Wrap in a paper towel and refrigerate in a breathable container (perforated plastic or a paper bag) in the vegetable crisper.

    NECTARINES: If at all possible, do not refrigerate. It can produce mealy, tasteless fruit. Ripen on the counter and eat when ready.

    OKRA: Place in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    ONIONS: Store in a cool, dark corner of the pantry or countertop. You can also store them on a shelf in the fridge for longterm storage of a couple weeks or more. Never store them in plastic.

    PARSNIPS: Remove any greens and store them separately like other greens. Wrap parsnips in paper towels in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper. If parsnips get soft, just drop them in cold water for a few minutes.

    PEAS, SNOW OR ENGLISH: Wrap peas that come in their pods in a paper towel and refrigerate in a breathable container (perforated plastic or a paper bag) in the vegetable crisper.

    PEACHES: If at all possible, do not refrigerate. It can produce mealy, tasteless fruit. Ripen on the counter and eat when ready. If they’re not quite ripe and you’re in a hurry, they will ripen faster in a bag. But keep an eye on them — they may ripen very fast that way!

    PEARS: Can be stored unwashed on the counter for a few days. To prolong freshness, store on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper, where they can last for a couple weeks. No need to bag them. Wash just before eating. If they’re not quite ripe and you’re in a hurry, they will ripen faster in a bag.

    PEPPERS, HOT OR SWEET: Store in a paper bag in the vegetable crisper, where they’ll keep for a week.

    PLUMS: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for a day or two, or on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper. If they aren’t quite ripe, they will ripen faster if you bag them.

    POTATOES: Store in a cool, dark corner of the pantry or countertop. You can also store them in the vegetable crisper for longterm storage of a couple weeks or more. Never store them in plastic or in the same area as produce that releases ethylene gas — potatoes are highly sensitive!

    RADISHES: Remove any greens and store them separately like other greens. Wrap radishes in paper towels in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    ROMANESCO: Wrap in paper towels and store in a plastic bag stem-side down in the vegetable crisper. Keep the head intact until use.

    RHUBARB: Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    RUTABAGAS: Store in the vegetable crisper.

    SPROUTS: Wrap in paper towels in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    SQUASH, SUMMER: Yellow squash and zucchini can be stored on the counter. If you can’t eat it within a few days, seal it in a plastic bag in the crisper or on a shelf in the fridge, but eat within a week.

    SQUASH, WINTER: Hard winter squashes, like acorn, butternut, and pumpkin, can hang out in the pantry or on the counter out of direct sunlight. If you store them in the fridge, keep them on a shelf, not in a crisper. They’re very hardy and can last a long, long time in the fridge. Big pumpkins do not need to be refrigerated at all.

    SWEET POTATOES: Store in a cool, dark corner of the pantry or countertop. You can store them on a shelf in the fridge or the vegetable crisper, but be aware that fridge storage can sometimes alter their taste and flavor while cooking — but not always, so it’s okay in a pinch.

    TOMATOES: Best on the counter, or in a sunny window if they need to ripen a bit more. But if you can’t get to them before they turn too ripe, you can store them on a shelf in the fridge. Just let them return to room temp before eating them raw – the cold can reduce the flavor, but most of it usually returns if you let it warm up.

    TURNIPS: Remove any greens and store them separately like other greens. Store turnips in the vegetable crisper.

    WATERMELON: Store on the counter or in the pantry. Can also be stored on a shelf in the fridge. Never store it in the same area as produce that releases ethylene gas — watermelon is highly sensitive!

    11. When all else fails, freeze it!

    If you can’t eat it all fast enough, just throw it in the freezer. It’ll keep there for 8-12 months! When you defrost it later, if it’s not as appetizing to eat raw, it’ll still be great cooked… and just about as nutritious as it would have been if you’d cooked it instead of freezing it in the first place.

    And that’s how you store fresh vegetables and fruits so you can eat more fresh vegetables and fruits!

    (Read more: How to freeze and save fresh local produce for a year!)

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

healthy breakfast foods local berries

Healthy breakfast foods: 7 local foods to start your day off right

Healthy breakfast foods for every taste

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Stock up on healthy breakfast foods, because a good day starts with a good, healthy breakfast. That means different things to different people, depending on what each individual’s body needs to comfortably break the night’s fast.

For some of us, a good breakfast consists of a hearty combination of eggs, toast, and fruit. But for others, it may be a simple cup of coffee.

Whatever your personal power breakfast may be, you’ll get more out of it when you get your ingredients from a local source you trust — you can be sure it’ll be fresher and richer in both flavor and nutrients.

So let’s take a closer look at seven of the best things you can eat when you roll out of bed.

pasture-raised eggs

#1 PASTURE-RAISED EGGS

We Veggie Fairies get our pasture-raised eggs from Authenticity Farms in Amelia, Va., where the hens spend their days in the sunshine foraging for grass, seeds, and bugs — all the things chickens naturally eat. Thanks to their own healthy diet, they produce eggs that are healthier for us too – and sooo delicious!

(Read more about Authenticity Farms humane farming practices and their pasture-raised eggs.)

A pasture-raised egg looks different from an industrial farmed egg (even if it’s labeled “cage-free” or “free-range”). The yolk of a pasture-raised egg is deep orange and is surrounded by a thick, milky white. On top of having more flavor, pasture-raised eggs contain higher amounts of vitamin A, D, E, K2, B-12, folate, riboflavin, zinc, calcium, beta carotene, and choline, as well as omega 3 fatty acids, including DHA, EPA, ALA, and AA.

Pasture-raised eggs offer the highest quality protein, too, second only to the lactalbumin protein that’s found in a human mother’s milk. Eating eggs for breakfast increases your feeling of fullness, so you’ll eat fewer calories for lunch and even out your blood sugar and insulin levels.

Many studies have shown that a pasture-raised egg isn’t just a healthy breakfast food — it’s a true superfood. This study found that compared to industrial farmed eggs, pasture-raised eggs may contain:

  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta carotene
  • 3-6 times more vitamin D (thanks to hanging out in all that sunshine!)
  • More K2, B12, folate, riboflavin, zinc, and calcium
  • More antioxidants that help prevent eye trouble like cataracts, according to this study and this study
  • More choline your brain and liver depend on to stay healthy
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 1/3 less cholesterol – that said, eggs don’t actually raise cholesterol levels in most of us. On the contrary, eggs may reduce your risk of heart disease risk by modifying the shape of “bad” LDL cholesterol, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol, and improving insulin sensitivity.
  • healthy breakfast foods whole grains

    #2 WHOLE GRAIN BREAD

    Enjoy your eggs with whole grain toast – your online farmers market has a variety of healthful breads to suit your taste buds. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a number of studies have shown that incorporating whole grain foods in an overall healthy diet may help lower your risk for many diseases, including stroke, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and colorectal cancer.

    Whole grains are also rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins and many other nutrients that help to lower blood pressure, reduce gum disease, strengthen the immune system, and control weight. (If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, be sure to go for gluten-free options.)

    So in the morning, sit down to toast and eggs cooked any way you like them, or grab a couple of hard-boiled eggs for a portable breakfast on the go.

    local granola

    3. OATS
    4. NUTS
    5. YOGURT

    Combine the first two of these healthy breakfast foods and they add up to… granola! Our granola is made in small batches by Hudson Henry Baking Co. in Palmyra, Va.

    Oats contain a unique fiber called oat beta-glucan which, among other things, reduces cholesterol. Thanks to this fiber, oats make you feel full, like eggs. Oats are also rich in antioxidants that may boost your heart health and lower your blood pressure. (While oats don’t have gluten, they’re often contaminated with it from being processed with other grains. So if gluten’s an issue, look for oats that are certified gluten-free.)

    The nuts in granola are filling and help prevent weight gain. Nuts are high in magnesium, potassium, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. They’ve been shown to improve heart disease risk factors, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and decrease inflammation. Yeah, they’re high in calories, but scientists have tested almonds and found that you don’t absorb all the fat – in the case of a one-ounce serving, your body only absorbs about 129 calories.

    To boost the protein content of a nice nutty granola breakfast, toss a few handfuls on top of yogurt. We get our yogurt from sustainable artisans like Mountain View Farm in Fairfield, Va. In addition to leaving you feeling satisfied, full-fat yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid, which may increase fat loss and decrease breast cancer risk.

    All together, oats, nuts, and yogurt add up to a breakfast of healthy champions!

    local berries

    6. FRUIT, FRESH OR FROZEN

    Fresh fruits are arguably the healthiest of all the healthy breakfast foods. All fruits contain vitamins, potassium, and fiber, and they’re relatively low in calories.

    To get your daily dose of vitamin C, savor one large Florida-grown orange while they’re in our winter-time market. It’ll give you more than 100% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C.

    A cup of strawberries also contains the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. In fact, all berries are mini superfoods. They’re packed with antioxidants, including anthocyanins that protect your heart and may help you age better. They reduce inflammation, too.

    To keep you supplied with fresh-picked berries during berry season, we rely on local farmers like the Geyer family of Agriberry Farm in Hanover, Va.

    local coffee

    7. COFFEE

    Believe it or not, that cup of Joe is a healthy breakfast food — not to mention an excellent way to jumpstart your day. And it’s not just the caffeine – a 2005 study found that, believe it or not, coffee is the number-one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet. That’s because we drink so much of it. Doctors say it’s actually best if you get most of your antioxidants from things like berries.

    But the antioxidants in coffee are icing on the cake. And combined with caffeine, coffee is surprisingly good for you. Coffee drinking has been linked to a lower risk of diseases such as diabetes and prostate cancer, and it may even help you live longer. It reduces inflammation, protects the cells lining your blood vessels, and decreases liver disease risk.

    Sipping on some caffeine has been shown to improve mood, alertness, and mental performance. In addition to waking you up, caffeine also increases your metabolic rate and fat burning. Just 100 mg of caffeine can help you burn an extra 79–150 calories in a day.

    Even the little bit you get in decaf can offer health benefits. An analysis of 41 studies reported that you can maximize the benefits while limiting the side effects if you get 38–400 mg per day (18). Depending on the strength of the coffee, that’s about one-third of a cup to four cups of caffeinated coffee per day.

    We Veggie Fairies like our coffee with a conscience. So we get our caffeine fix from local roasters like Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters in Gloucester, Va. Celeste and Jo source their beans from small plantations that they’ve personally vetted, and they continuously give back to their community, with a focus on keeping the Chesapeake Bay clean and healthy. Read their story here.
    *
    So to get your day off to a great start, make one or all of these seven great local healthy breakfast foods part of your morning routine!

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.