heart-healthy local food for American Heart Month

American Heart Month & heart-healthy local food

This American Heart Month, show your heart some love!

By the Veggie Fairy Team

While Valentines are nice, a healthy ticker is even better! February is American Heart Month, the perfect time to get in the habit of keeping heart-healthy foods on hand.

We’ve rounded up our top 10 heart-healthy, local foods. They’re all recommended by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, and the Cleveland Clinic. Some of these items are available year-round, and some are seasonal. So keep an eye out when you’re browsing our online farmers market. If you put a few of the foods on this list in your Seasonal Roots basket each week (not just during American Heart Month!) your heart will love you for it!!!

heart healthy leafy greens

#1 Dark leafy greens

Leafy greens are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to heart health. Examples include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, and watercress. These tasty greens are grown locally all year round and can be used in a wide variety of recipes. Try using these greens in sandwiches instead of lettuce, or mix them up for a heart-healthy salad. We’ve got more ideas on how to cook greens, plus kale recipes for kids of all ages!

heart healthy whole grains

#2 Whole grain items

Opt for whole grains when you can. This applies to items such as pasta, breads, cereals, and crackers. In their original, unprocessed state, whole grains still have the outer layers that contain healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber, plus carbohydrates, protein, and healthy, unsaturated fats. So grains like whole wheat, oats, and kasha provide more heart-healthy fiber than white flour. Bonus: They’re more filling too!

heart healthy tomatoes

#3 Tomatoes

This versatile fruit masquerading as a vegetable can be added to most savory dishes — think salads, pastas, eggs, and sandwiches. In addition to antioxidants, tomatoes are high in potassium, which can help control high blood pressure.

heart healthy acorn squash

#4 Red, yellow, and orange veggies

Many studies show that carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and acorn squash are packed with carotenoids, fiber, and vitamins. These are all beneficial for your heart. So cook with color and eat the rainbow!

heart healthy legumes hummus

#5 Hummus

Legumes in general are great for your circulation, and hummus is chock-full of chickpeas. Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans, and they’re a type of legume. The olive oil in hummus is good for your heart, too! A study compared eating legumes once a week to eating legumes four times a week. The result: eating legumes four times a week was associated with a 22% lower risk of coronary heart disease.

heart healthy berries

#6 Berries

Everybody loves berries, and local berry season is coming soon! Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are rich in fiber and antioxidants. This is especially true when you eat them in season — at their flavorful and nutritional peak. There’s evidence that getting your antioxidant vitamins from food is much more effective and beneficial than getting them from supplements. So go ahead and grab another helping of berries!

heart healthy tofu

#7 Tofu

If you’ve never cooked with tofu, don’t be intimidated! Try tofu in a flavorful stir-fry with fresh veggies for a heart-healthy lunch or dinner. Research indicates that including more soy foods like tofu in your diet may have cardiovascular benefits, like lowering blood pressure. The prepared vegan meals in your online farmers market are a super-easy and tasty way to get your tofu. So go for it, whether your a tofu newbie or a tofu super fan.

heart healthy asparagus

#8 Asparagus

According to the NIH, asparagus is filled with mighty nutrients such as beta-carotene, folate, and fiber. This tender, sweet vegetable is delicious when roasted and drizzled with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Plus, asparagus only has 25 calories per cup (or about 5 calories per large spear) – win-win!

heart healthy broccoli

#9 Broccoli

Crisp, fresh broccoli florets dipped in hummus are an extra powerful snack with a whopping list of heart-healthy nutrients. The list includes vitamins C and E, potassium, folate, and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps lower total and LDL cholesterol levels by binding to bile in the gut (which is made up of cholesterol). Then it gets removed from the body along with the body’s waste.

heart healthy chocolate red wine

#10 Dark chocolate & red wine

Since this is Cupid’s month, we veggie fairies are happy to report that dark chocolate and red wine are both good for your heart! (Based on personal experience, there are definitely some days when wine and chocolate are really good for mental health, too. Just sayin’…!) The Cleveland Clinic put dark chocolate up against red wine to see if one is better for you than the other. Find out which one was the winner here!

Make American Heart Month last all year long. By eating these foods locally when they’re freshly made or in season, you’re maximizing the nutritional benefits for your heart. Other heart-healthy staples to keep on hand include nuts like almonds and walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, canned or dried legumes, and quinoa (a grain that’s a great source of protein and rich in fiber). So with a clink of our glasses of red wine we say: Here’s to your heart!


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 cook greens

How to cook greens

‘Tis the season for greens!

– Written by Margo L, veggie fairy & neighborhood Market Manager in Yorktown

Greens are loaded with perishable nutrients, so long as they’re fresh like our locally harvested greens. Our farmers are harvesting two types right now. The cabbage family (Cruciferae) includes bok choy, broccoli, cabbage (obviously), collards, kale, and turnips (which have tasty greens). The goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae) includes beets, chard, and spinach.

So here’s the inside scoop on the difference between greens and how to make use of them, including how to cook greens.


Beets are loved or hated. They’re dense and have a strong, earthy flavor. But they’re also full of sugars. Beets can be boiled, steamed, or roasted to be eaten on their own or added to salads. They can even be used as a sweetener when baking certain desserts. Beet greens make an excellent salad green or can be sautéed or steamed.

Bok choy

Bok choy is sweet, crisp, and mild tasting. The stems are juicy and sweet and take a few minutes longer to cook than the mild-tasting greens. It’s delicious in stir fries and soups.


Broccoli crowns can be eaten raw, or cooked along with the stem. Just discard the shard tip, then slice the rest of the stem and steam or roast the slices longer than the crown, which needs only brief cooking. Bake broccoli into casseroles or add to soups and stews.


Cabbage, when overcooked, emits hydrogen sulfide (the rotten egg aroma), ammonia, and other foul smells. But cooked with care, it’s delish. Add it to soups or baked dishes, or simmer, sautée, or steam it. Eat it raw in slaws and salads, or use the leaves to wrap up a savory filling. Savoy cabbage, by the way, is the one with extremely crinkled leaves.


Chard, including lovely rainbow chard, is almost as quick cooking as spinach. You can steam, sautée, or braise it, or add it to soups, stews, and casseroles. The leaf and stem can be prepared together or they may be cooked and served separately.


Collards are actually a mild tasting variety of kale. Leathery looking but tender after an encounter with heat, they both do well when you slice them into slivers and cook them briefly. They’re commonly cooked with smoked meats, onions, chiles, garlic, and vinegar. But they’re also good with ginger, coconut, and spices like turmeric, coriander, cardamom, and cumin. Raw kale is good in salads or hide it in a smoothie.


Spinach is a delicate veggie and best when lightly cooked, just until it begins to go limp. Its mild flavor absorbs any seasoning and its leaves have a velvety quality. Just wash it well, shake off most of the water, and put it in a hot pan – the moisture clinging to the leaves will be sufficient to wilt it. Spinach can also be eaten raw in a salad or smoothie.


Turnips, in this case salad turnips, taste similar to a radish – earthy, crunchy, and peppery. Eat the roots and greens raw in a salad, or slice and sautée them.

So eat your greens, enjoy the flavors, and feel oh so very virtuous!


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, pastured eggs, grassfed 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

how to cook greens

‘Tis the season for greens


Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

‘Tis the season for greens
A pocket guide to our current crop of nutritious powerhouse greens
by Margo, veggie fairy & neighborhood market manager in the Yorktown area

Greens are loaded with perishable nutrients, so long as they’re fresh like our locally harvested greens. Our farmers are harvesting two types right now. The cabbage family (Cruciferae) includes bok choy, broccoli, cabbage (obviously), collards, kale, and turnips (which have tasty greens). The goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae) includes beets, chard, and spinach.

Beets are loved or hated…

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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