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BONNIE’S GARDEN–National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

June—fresh local strawberries are here—in your own backyard—or at a local Farmers Market.  Fresh peas, spring onions, fresh beets, the first of the summer’s cucumbers and squash—they’re all in season!  Perfect timing for National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, isn’t it?

I’m a huge fan of eating fresh—whether it’s from my garden, a generous neighbor or co-worker sharing the bounty from their garden, or a hard-working farmer selling his or her produce at a farm-stand or Farmers Market.

The only way to get truly fresh produce is to pick it yourself or buy it local.  When I get it local, I know it tastes better, because it’s picked at the peak of freshness–not picked green to be artificially ripened with ethylene gas in transit.  And the flavor hasn’t degraded because it was picked ten days ago,.  Instead, it was picked today—or yesterday at the earliest.

I know it’s better for me because it’s not just flavor that tends to degrade with time, but nutrients, too.

I like to grow what I can grow.  Because I have to garden in sunny patches between trees, I don’t have enough space to grow everything I want.  Things like corn, watermelons, and cantaloupes take more space than I’ve got.  But local farmers have the room so I let them grown what I can’t.

Did you know that, on average, food travels approximately 3000 miles to get to your local grocery store?  Think about the amount of fossil fuels involved in shipping or the amount of plastic in packaging.  Grow it yourself and food only travels the few feet between your backdoor and your garden.  Buy it from a local Farmers Market and it might have traveled a few miles—but nowhere near 3000!

If you lack space, then grow what you can—fresh herbs or fresh baby greens in a pot in a sunny window.  Then buy what you can from a farm-stand or Farmers Market.  That’s the best way to celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.

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