Right now in Douglas County, you can find an abundance of fresh produce. Everything tastes so fresh when you get it in-season. I just can’t get enough of our local produce during the summer. There are so many ways to eat all the wonderful food grown in Douglas County. I like to eat some of it as-is, because I love the great flavors. After consuming my fill, I enjoy trying new recipes to use fruits and vegetables in new ways.

It is fun to try combining fruits and vegetables to use all the fresh produce together. I like to try salads to incorporate both fruits and vegetables, like strawberry and cucumber salad. It’s so refreshing. By combining fruits and vegetables together you really get a vast variety of nutrients in one dish. I also find that the color combination is appealing as well. Try combining dark greens like spinach, using strawberries to create a red pop and a few orange segments for another pop of color. Then add a few nuts and you have a great summer salad, like the spring green salad recipe from foodhero.org.

Try looking up local U-picks to find out what is available for picking now. This is a perfect way to get your kids involved in physical activity as well as trying new fruits and vegetables. Kids get so excited to help pick produce and are more likely to try new fruits and vegetables if they do the picking. Most farmers allow kids to sample the produce in the field so they get to know how to pick what is ripe. However, sometimes children don’t mind if the blueberries they pick aren’t 100 percent ripe, because they like them sour. A great way to incorporate blueberries into a nutrient rich salad is a barley summer salad. It includes snap peas, blueberries, apples, cranberries and bell peppers with a grain. This barley salad has great color and is a wonderful source of fiber, vitamin C and also includes vitamin A.

Another summer favorite for me is fruit crisp. I like the amazing fruit flavor of a crisp. This is a dessert that really lets the fruit or vegetables in it shine. On the foodhero.org website, you will find many types of crisp recipes for any time of year. You may want to try making a rhubarb blueberry crisp to combine fruits and vegetables found locally.

Enjoy eating seasonally by trying to incorporate fruits and vegetables found locally for excellent flavor and lots of nutrients. Hopefully this will help you try some new ways to eat your favorite in-season fruits and vegetables to get the most out of the local growing season.

Mandy Hatfield is the Nutrition Education Program Instructor for OSU Extension Service of Douglas County. Mandy can be reached by e-mail mandy.hatfield@oregonstate.edu or phone at 541-672-4461. All recipes courtesy of foodhero.org website

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