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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.

picky eater kids healthy recipes

Got a picky eater? Try these healthy recipes

Three easy healthy recipes for picky eaters, whether or not they’re kids!

Got a picky eater? Whether your picky loved one is a kid or a grown up, here are three easy recipes to help picky eaters of all ages eat more spinach, kale, and sweet potatoes, plus other veggies… with or without their knowledge.

To make it even easier, you can get many of these ingredients and sides home-delivered from Seasonal Roots’ year-round farmers market. Check it out here. If you’re not a member yet, the 30-day money back guarantee makes it easy to give it a try.

HEALTHY SPINACH RECIPE

Who doesn’t love meatballs? And they’re a great place to hide the greens!

picky eater spinach meatballs

Sneaky Spinach Meatballs

4 servings
For a quick delicious meal, serve with your favorite local artisan’s prepared sauce, pasta, and a simple side of apple slices.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 c fresh local bread, cut or torn into pieces, or substitute Seasonal Roots’ gluten-free options
  • 3/4 c Oberweis milk, or water
  • 1 lb grassfed beef or a mixture of grassfed meats of your choice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pastured egg
  • 1/2 c cheese (parmesan or your fave), grated, or substitute Unmoo’s Notz
  • handful parsley and basil, chopped finely (optional)
  • 1-3 handfuls spinach or kale, puréed in a blender to make it invisible
  • salt/pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Get ready to bake or fry, your choice. Preheat oven to 350 or coat frying pan with grapeseed oil or vegetable oil.
  2. Soak bread in bowl of milk/water.
  3. Combine ground beef, garlic, egg, cheese, and greens. Feel free to use or mix together different types of ground meat: veal, pork, chicken, etc.
  4. Mix the soaked bread into the ground beef mixture and add milk. Form into balls.
  5. Oven: Bake meatballs on cooking tray for about 15 minutes, depending on size. Stovetop: Heat frying pan before adding meatballs for a nice crust.
  6. Meanwhile, boil your favorite pasta according to package directions and heat up a local artisan sauce in a saucepan or microwave. Dish up and serve!

HEALTHY KALE RECIPE

Serve a smoothie as a drink, or for a really picky eater, go one step further — popsicles! Kids and adults alike sometimes don’t care for the texture of smoothies, but most of the time we all love popsicles.

picky eater kale smoothie popsicles

Hide the Kale Smoothie Popsicles

2 servings as a smoothie / or many popsicles

When bananas are a little past their prime, that’s when they’re perfect for smoothies, so pop them in the freezer. That way they’ll stop ripening and will be the right texture and temp for a smoothie whenever you’re ready to whip these up.

TIP: Freeze the kale ahead of time, too. Wash it, dry it, and throw it in the freezer as soon as you get it. Freezing it makes it less bitter. It will keep for weeks, even months, so you’ll have it whenever you need it with most of its nutrients intact.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 frozen ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 c frozen mixed berries, blueberries, or fresh apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 2 c frozen kale, chopped if leaves are large
  • 2/3 c pomegranate juice (it hides the taste of kale best)
  • 3/4-1/2 c water, or milk for more creaminess
  • 2/3 c pomegranate juice (it hides the taste of kale best)
  • 1 t – 1 T honey (for more sweetness – optional)
  • 1 T peanut or almond butter (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth, adding more water as needed. Taste and adjust flavors as needed. Add more banana or honey for more sweetness as needed.
  3. Pour into popsicle molds, freeze, and enjoy for a snack or dessert.

HEALTHY SWEET POTATO RECIPE

Actually, you can hide just about anything, including sweet potatoes! Use puréed or mashed sweet potatoes to thicken your favorite chili. It’s delish! Don’t have a chili fave? Try this one…

picky eater sweet potato chili

Secret Sweet Potato Chili

Serves at least 4
This is a good recipe for a busy day at home. Throw it all in one big soup pot or Dutch oven and let it cook — the longer the better! In fact, you can make it ahead and refrigerate or freeze for later.

Also, there’s a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the amount of each ingredient. So feel free to adjust everything to your taste for spice or thickness. Serve with fresh, locally baked crusty bread, and/or over spaghetti noodles, plus a side of carrot sticks… or if your picky eater “does” salad, go for the green — just keep it simple: lettuce or arugula, craisins, and sunflower seeds, topped with bits of cheese, for instance.

TIP: Bake sweet potatoes ahead of time, then slip off the skins and either mash them or give ’em a spin in the blender.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-6 slices pastured nitrate-free bacon, sliced
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped or diced
  • 1-3 lbs grassfed chuck roast or similar cut, cubed
  • 4-8 tomatoes, chopped, or up to a 20oz can of pureed tomatoes
  • 1 c or more water, as needed
  • 1 c or more mashed or pureed baked sweet potatoes (optional)
  • 1 can kidney beans (optional)
  • 6 slices of jalapeno (jarred or fresh), minced, discard seeds
  • 1 t salt (optional)
  • 1 T chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T oregano, dried (if fresh, use 3x more)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Don’t bother pulling the bacon slices apart. Just pull them out of the package all stuck together and cut them up as is into half-inch slices. Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears, whichever you find easier. Fry in a big, deep soup pot.
  2. As bacon bits start to brown, add garlic, then onion.
  3. When onion starts to turn translucent, add beef cubes to brown. If you’re making a larger amount of chili, dump the bacon, garlic, and onion into a bowl on the side and brown cubes in batches, pouring off liquid as needed and dumping each batch in the bowl. When all the cubes are browned, dump everything from the bowl back into the pot.
  4. Add tomatoes, fresh or canned, and enough water (if needed) to just barely cover everything. Increase temperature to bring to a boil.
  5. While waiting for it to boil, stir in sweet potato, beans (if using), jalapeno, and seasonings.
  6. When it reaches a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Stir occasionally and add water as needed while it cooks for at least an hour. Two hours is better. You’ll know it’s done when the meat cubes are so tender they fall apart easily with a fork.
  7. After you turn the heat off, it will stay hot on the stove for a good hour. You can also reheat it later. Then ladle it up and enjoy!

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT. . .

…Tips to help kids eat more veggies, click here.
…Signing up for Seasonal Roots home-delivered farmers market, click here.
…How to order from Seasonal Roots, click here.
…Seasonal Roots, click here.

Heirloom Tomato Pizza

  As someone who eats seasonally, you want to be an adventurous eater and try it all. Maybe some things like heirloom cherry tomatoes have proven their place in your meal plan, but things like fennel and turnip, not so much. Often, when a veggie turns us off, it’s because we had a bad experience […]

celebrate local vegetables

Celebrate Vegetables

– By Duane, Head Veggie Fairy

I remember the first time I experienced Brussels sprouts in the field. I found myself in a fantasy world full of stalks that extended above my head, with beautiful leaves of purple and green. AND I was given a knife and allowed to harvest them myself! What more could a 10 year old boy want?! I ate heartily. Not only were they the fruits of my labor, but they tasted AMAZING and nothing like the frozen Brussels sprouts from the grocery store I was used to. It was veggie adventures like this that now have me celebrating local vegetables today.

May is full of all kinds of celebrations so we’re taking this week to celebrate the veggies themselves. Whether vegetables define your lifestyle or complement your meat, here are three reasons they’re worth celebrating.

Celebrate the Wholesome Goodness

It’s a fact that vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants are the highest in vegetables when they’re harvested at peak ripeness, when they’ve had all the time they need to fully soak in all the goodness sun and soil have to offer. The sooner you eat them after harvesting, the greater the nutritional impact. Their extra fresh flavor will also make you want to eat more! The most tender veggies, like spinach, lose about 60% of their nutritional value within a week of harvesting, so it’s important to cut down the time it takes to get from the farm to your table. If you’re going to eat vegetables, you should eat them as fresh and flavorful as you can get them and take advantage of all that wholesome goodness.

Celebrate the Diversity of Vegetables

Getting your vegetables direct from the farmer introduces you to new and different varieties you may not have access to otherwise. Seasonal Roots has three types of kale on the menu at this moment – Tuscan, red Russian, and curly. All have different flavors. Did you know Russian kale is sweeter tasting than curly kale? Have you tried fresh garlic from the field? Do you know what a garlic scape is and what to do with it? You’ll be inspired to try new things as the changing seasons bring fresh varieties to the market!

Not only will you be inspired to try new vegetables, but you’ll be inspired to prepare them in different ways by other veggie lovers in your local food community. Asparagus is awesome on the grill and you can eat the spears like fries. Brussels sprouts roast to perfection in the oven. Golden beets are milder than their red sisters and won’t trick you into thinking you have a kidney infection! If you massage your collard greens, they give back with a sweeter taste and texture in your salad. Vegetables offer endless diversity… you’ll want to be a part of celebrating and trying new varieties!

Celebrate Working Together as a Community

Have you talked to your local farmer recently? You would be amazed by the amount of passion they put into growing your food. Because they care, practices like what variety and origin of seed they plant, spray/no spray, rotating crops for best nutrients, and picking produce at peak ripeness, matter. They want the community of families they feed to have the best produce! Sometimes that means a bug or two because they didn’t spray, or waiting an extra week for strawberries so they reach their  peak flavor and nutrients before harvesting.

Getting away from mass produced food has become crucial to our health and the health of our world, yet we are still a busy society. We have limited time to spend in the kitchen. Many local food artisans rely on local farmers for their produce. When you can trust your community of local food artisans because they share the same philosophy, it’s easier to pick up some yummy prepared food, enjoy it for a meal, and be confident you are still benefiting from the best food.

By supporting local farmers, food artisans, and organizations like Seasonal Roots, you help create a strong food system in our own backyard. We’re all in this together and when we work together as a community, it’s certainly a reason to celebrate and eat more local veggies!

Try something new this week, whether it be getting to know your local farmer better, trying a new variety of vegetable, or ordering something prepared by a local food artisan that you haven’t tried before. Your taste buds will enjoy the celebration!

 

 

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, pasture-raised dairy, eggs, and meat, plus wholesome 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.

A Toast to the Women in our Lives

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / May 8, 2019

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

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

19-5-8 Newsletter Final-page-001

Spice up your celebration Seasonal Roots style

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / May 1, 2019

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

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19-05-01 Newsletter

Loving Seasonal Roots means loving the earth

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / April 24, 2019

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

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19-4-27 Newsletter Final

Easter to remember

Make it an Easter to remember

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / April 17, 2019

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

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Newsletter 19-4-17 Final

red cap patisserie chocolate

Local food takes the guilt out of guilty pleasures

Case Study: Red Cap Patisserie

– By the Veggie Fairy Team

When you buy local food, your money stays in your community instead of going to some faraway corporate headquarters. Buy local food and your dollars create jobs at local farms, food distribution systems like Seasonal Roots, and food artisans like Red Cap Patisserie, which employs eight talented people in Richmond, Virginia.

red cap patisserie local jobs

So you can indulge that craving for, say, handmade chocolate, guilt-free, with Red Cap’s Dark Chocolate Toasted Almond Sour Cherry Bark. Not only is it good for the community, it’s also better for you than mass-produced chocolate. It’s freshly made, with no preservatives or artificial flavors.

And you can feel virtuous about it, too — compared to the global industrial food complex, food from a local artisan like Red Cap Patisserie uses less fuel and produces less CO2. So local food belches fewer greenhouse gases and fights global warming. That’s cool.

(Read this full list of 10 ways local food helps you live better.)

For two decades, pastry chef Martine Wladar handcrafted delicious treats for cafés and restaurants in New York City and New Jersey. We talked with her husband and partner John about how they found their way to Richmond, Virginia, where they now work together on their unique take on traditional French- and European-inspired fare.

red cap patisserie martine & john

VEGGIE FAIRY:

You both grew up in New Jersey. How did you wind up in Richmond’s historic Fan district?

JOHN:

It was a corporate relocation on my part in 2013. Martine had been working in the food industry for years, so we created a kitchen in our home where she could bake more seriously than she could with a residential oven. We signed up for the Saint Stephen’s Farmers Market and did that regularly.

red cap patisserie farmers market

After a couple years, a space opened up in the Fan and we were fortunate enough to acquire it. That let us open the retail operation and expand the commercial operation. Meanwhile I left my corporate job and began working for Martine. I’ve only been fired a couple times and she always takes me back.

red cap patisserie ribbon cutting

VEGGIE FAIRY:

Ha! But… not all couples can actually work together without killing each other. What’s your secret?

JOHN:

It’s something we work very hard at. We’ve been married since 1988, but when we embarked on this it changed our dynamic in many ways. You learn to be patient and just be quiet and listen and really try to hear the other person, which is a good practice whether you work together or not!

red cap patisserie handmade caramel

VEGGIE FAIRY:

So in our market, to start with you’ll be offering Chocolate Chip Brownies, Salty Sweet Pecans, super adorable Marshmallow Chicks, Sea Salt Caramels, and lots of dark chocolate treats. In addition to that, in your shop you offer all kinds of freshly baked sweet and savory pastries. How do you decide what to offer?

JOHN:

What we offer is guided by Martine’s intuition and inspiration. She’s had a lifelong love for baking and cooking. She’s taken various courses at cooking schools and perfected her skills on the job, and opening the shop was a unique opportunity to pull her expertise together in both baking and cooking.

red cap patisserie martine

VEGGIE FAIRY:

How did Martine learn the chocolate side of the business?

JOHN:

She has worked with Jacques Torres, who is a famous French chocolate master. When we opened this place she said, “You know, eventually I really want to offer chocolate!” Within a year and a half we had built up enough in-house staff to break out and offer chocolate treats and caramel. She really loves caramel, so we do our own caramel in-house and blend our own chocolate in-house. We like a particular chocolate taste. Some chocolates are too bitter, some have too much “cherry” flavor, some are just too sweet. We blend it to hit that sweet spot in between.

VEGGIE FAIRY:

How do you choose your ingredients?

JOHN:

It’s about quality in terms of the craft of making an excellent product that you can feel good about eating. Whenever possible, we source our ingredients locally. We’ll barter at the farmers market for eggs. We’re using real ingredients — real cream, real butter, real flour. No ingredients you can’t recognize or pronounce. That makes for a delicious product and a healthier one, even when it’s a treat.

VEGGIE FAIRY:

What’s your carbon footprint like?

JOHN:

We’re local, so we’re close to our customers. We also aim for sustainability in packaging. We try not to use any styrofoam and reduce the amount of plastic packaging we use as well as the packaging our supplies come in. We recycle everything that leaves the kitchen — unlike larger establishments, where everything just goes in the dumpster.

*

red cap patisserie martine pastry chef

Red Cap Patisserie shares Seasonal Roots’ mission to make the world a better place through local food! If you want to see the full range of Martine’s creations, check out the mouthwatering photo gallery on the Red Cap Patisserie Instagram page. If you’re inspired to stop by Martine and John’s shop the next time you’re in Richmond, you’ll find directions on their website.

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, pasture-raised dairy, eggs, and meat, plus wholesome 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.

online farmers market how to order

YOUR ONLINE MARKET JUST GOT BETTER

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / April 10, 2019

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

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newsletter 2019-04-10 FINAL