How’s and Why’s of Eating With the Seasons

Kelsey MacDonald, Seacoast Eat Local Intern


What Does Eating In Season Mean?
Eating in season is a way of celebrating the food products, especially produce available in your area at that time of year. This also means waiting to eat foods until they are available to you locally, which maybe a challenge at first. Eating only the freshest, local products will provide the richest flavors and highest nutritional value. Today this can be hard with all the commercial food options available, but you will find food coming into season exciting. And you will be ready for the new products to come in their bounty.

Spring is the time of new growth with products that are leafy and tender.

Summer provides light and cooling foods.

Fall provides the end of the light foods and the beginning of the warming food with its bountiful harvest.

Winter is a time of warming and hearty foods that keep us sustained.

late summer

Why Should I Eat in Season?

Fresher foods have more flavor and provide a higher nutrient content. Seasonal foods also have what the body need at that time of year. For example, in the summer produce has a high water content and natural sugars to help with hydration; in the winter foods tend to be heartier and more warming. At any time of year, without having to be harvested early and transported a long distance (which degrades nutrients), local foods will have more vitamins and phytonutrients.

You are supporting your neighbors and the local economy by shopping from farmers, markets or locally sourced restaurants. You are promoting a healthier environment by reducing the carbon footprint of the food from the field to your fork. Lastly, you are also reducing the packaging of your food exponentially, creating less waste overall.

How Do I Eat In Season?

Shop at a farm stand nearby or the farmer’s market regularly to purchase what is coming in and out of season. See the market schedule at: .  Through direct sales from the farm, you are able to ask many questions about flavor profiles, flavor combinations and recipe ideas. There are also seasonal cookbooks that offer great suggestions on recipes, and how to prepare vegetables that may be new to you.

Signing up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) share is a great way to ensure you are able to try what is available each week (or bi-weekly). By paying up front, your farmer is able to plan for seeds, labor, equipment costs and more. If this is too much, try signing up for a CSA share with a friend or neighbor and learn the ropes together for the first year.

See more information at:

Plan ahead and preserve:

Preserving, pickling, canning and freezing are great ways to ensure your fresh and local products are available to you with a longer shelf life. There are many possibilities and canning makes for great gifts too!

See for tips and classes near you.

This may sound overwhelming, but an easy way to start is with freezer pickles:

freezer pickles


  • 4 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced
  • 8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 8 medium)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar


  • Rinse 10 2-cup plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Divide cucumbers, onions, salt and water between two large bowls. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours. Do not drain.
  • Add 2 cups sugar and 1 cup vinegar to each bowl; stir until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to prepared containers, leaving 1-in. headspace for expansion; freeze up to 6 weeks.
  • Thaw pickles in refrigerator 8 hours before using. Serve within 2 weeks after thawing. Yield: 10 pints.







The Return of a Few Favorites


Written by Emily Whitmore, SEL Intern


Spring has finally sprung! And so will a few crops that we’ve been missing throughout this long, snowy winter. As May and June are approaching, lets look at a few crops that will be available fresh at the markets!

One delicious ingredient that is very popular during the spring is rhubarb! Rhubarb is a vegetable, although it is commonly misidentified as a fruit due to its popular use in pies, jams and sauces. Untitled5Rhubarb’s crisp stalks taste sweet/tart and serve as the perfect refreshing snack to munch on as the days get warmer. The stalks can range in color from reddish pink to green and the difference is in the taste – the redder the stalk, the sweeter the taste. However, you must remember that the stalk is the only part of the plant that should be consumed. Rhubarb leaves must be avoided because they are poisonous and contain oxalic acid. This can be very damaging to the body if consumed in large quantity, eventually causing kidney failure.

Rhubarb isn’t just tasty, but it also provides many health benefits. It is notably high in fiber and also contains potassium, vitamin A, calcium and more.rhubarb-header In fact, one cup of cooked rhubarb has an equal amount of calcium than a glass of milk (although it is less bioavailable than calcium from dairy products)! Rhubarb is a perennial crop that is very low maintenance as it rarely suffers from disease or pests. It is typically harvested between April and June; so don’t miss your chance to pick up some fresh rhubarb at the market.

Another perennial vegetable that is available this time of the year is fresh asparagus. Many are probably familiar with green asparagus and its mild, earthy taste. However, some may be unaware of the different varieties of asparagus: purple and white.Untitled2 The purple varieties tend to be sweeter in flavor and less fibrous, however are more susceptible to disease. White asparagus is grown using the process of etiolation. Etiolation is the deprivation of light, and the absence of light disables the stalks from producing chlorophyll. Without the production of the pigment chlorophyll, the asparagus will not be given its green color, resulting in white asparagus. White asparagus is described to be more tender and subtle in flavor than green varieties. Untitled3Something that all varieties have in common is their nutritional content. Asparagus is very high in fiber, vitamin K and folate, so be sure to keep a look out for this nutritious vegetable in the upcoming months!

Lastly, towards the end of June we can expect to see the return of fresh strawberries! This popular member of the rose family is one of the first fruits to ripen in the spring. Strawberries can be confusing because despite their name, they are not a berry. Untitled4
By definition, a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from
a single plant ovary. Strawberries, on the other hand, are made up of several ovaries that were separate in a single flower. This is called an aggregate fruit, and another fruit that shares this characteristic are raspberries. Although they are not berries, strawberries are still exceptionally high in vitamin C and contain powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are enjoyed in many ways including raw, cooked in desserts, jams, sauces, and more! Pair some fresh strawberries from Sugar Momma’s Maple farm with fresh rhubarb from Two Farmers Farm and make a pie, muffins, jams or even compote. See the recipe below for some ideas!


Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

Servings: makes about 3.5 cups


  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 pound rhubarb, stalks only, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and serve warm over vanilla ice cream, angel food cake or waffles.

Recipe from


Asparagus and Strawberry Salad with Balsamic and Basil

Makes 2 appetizer sized or 1 sizable salad.


  • 5 large stalks asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup halved or quartered fresh strawberries
  • 6 cups fresh greens (mesclun, baby spinach, romaine, mache — all of these will be just fine)
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tabelspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp agave or maple syrup
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add the asparagus and blanch for 1-2 minutes till the stalks are still crunchy, but bright green and just tender enough to be palatable to you. Slice the basil into thin ribbons and, in a large bowl, combine the greens, asparagus, basil, and strawberries. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, syrup, and salt/pepper. Toss with the greens. Serve.

Recipe from





Picture Sources:–1672/asparagus-crowns.asp

The Hype on Greens

Written by Emily Whitmore, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

Greens are a group of vegetables that often go overlooked and aren’t given the credit they deserve. Greens can dress up any meal with their vibrant color, enticing flavor and vast amount of nutrients!


Whether it’s mustard greens, turnip greens, chard or kale, greens are a nutrient-dense food that contains many properties associated with a healthy diet. All greens are fat free, low in calories and high in fiber; so they aid in regulating the digestive system. Another beneficial property is that they have a low glycemic index. This means that greens control blood sugar and insulin more efficiently, which is important in the prevention of heart disease. Leafy greens not only aid in prevention of heart disease, but they also may be one of the best cancer-preventing foods because they contain many antioxidants. Aside from these benefits, here are a list of just a few vitamins and minerals that may also be found in greens:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C                2
  • Calcium
  • Iron

One B vitamin in particular that is found in some greens (especially dark leafy greens) and cannot be forgotten is folate. Folate is important in the prevention of anemia and also promotes tissue growth and cell function. Getting sufficient folate into the diet is especially critical for women of childbearing age in order to prevent birth defects such as neural tube defects. Many foods are now fortified with folic acid (a manmade form of folate); however among the highest natural sources of folate include spinach and romaine lettuce, so eat up!


Greens are typically very perishable. When storing, they should be wrapped in a paper towel to pick up excess moisture and then refrigerated in a perforated plastic bag or container. Always remember to wash your greens before they are to be eaten or cooked. Simply running them under cold water or soaking them in a bowl of water to remove sand or dirt will do.




And lastly, the best part about greens is their versatility! The multitude of varieties allow for greens to be enjoyed in many different ways and added to almost any meal. Of course there are salad greens, such as spinach, romaine and arugula that always play the lead role in mixed salads. However, greens with tougher leaves such as collard greens, bok choy or kale can also be incorporated into soups, stir-fries or even baked into chips! Another way to enjoy greens is to add them to sandwiches or wraps (or used as the wrap itself), which will increase the meal’s overall nutritional content, flavor and texture. Steaming is also a great way to prepare greens because this method helps to retain valuable nutrients. Something to be aware of is how considerably greens cook down from their original volume. For example, 1 pound of raw kale results in about 2.5 cups of cooked kale. Be sure to keep this in mind especially when making large recipes.




Other ways to incorporate greens into your daily diet:

-Throw a cup of greens into your morning smoothie
-Add spinach or kale to quesadillas or burritos
-Use steamed collard greens or swiss chard as a wrap for chicken salad or other sandwich fillings
-Top your eggs or omelette with micro-greens
-Replace processed chips with kale chips
-Blend greens and freeze in ice cube trays, making it an easy addition to smoothies or soups when ever you need them. Blend greens with anything from green tea, coconut milk or chicken stock.




There is a plethora of greens available at the farmers’ market, including spinach, bok choy, cabbage, kale, chard and much more! Just some of the farms where you can find greens include White Cedar Farm, Riverside Farm, The HERB FARMacy and Heron Pond – Get to the last winter market this Saturday and stock up!


Pictures from:




It’s an Egg-cellent Time of Year for Eggs!

Kelsey MacDonald, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

It’s Egg day at the last Seacoast Eat Local Farmer’s Market, this Saturday at the Exeter High School! The many farms that will be selling fresh eggs include: The Root Seller, Jesta Farm, Brandmoore Farm, Coppal House Farm, Hurd Farm, Mona Farm, John Holahan Farm, Brookford Farm, Patridge mixedcoloreggs mona farmFarm, White Cedar Farm, Kellie Brook Farm, Riverslea Farm and Sugarmomma’s Maple Farm. Make sure to get there early for the best selection of colors and types before they are sold out!

Eggs are especially abundant in the spring time as the grass begins to grow, becoming green and packed with more nutrition. The birds also begin laying more regularly as the day light gets longer and they spend more time outside. Eggs have so much to offer as they are naturally packed with high quality protein and vitamins. Eggs are great for any diet, and can be especially helpful for weight management. Their high quality protein content allows for a steady and sustained energy without a spike (and crash) in blood sugar levels. Although they were once thought to be high in cholesterol, moderate consumption of an average of one egg (yolk) per day, or about 300 mg of cholesterol, does not increase heart disease risk and can be a part of a heart healthy diet. Like any food, eggs should be consumed in moderation, and a high increase in egg consumption can put you at a risk of heart disease.

In many ways it is better to buy local eggs compared to factory farm produced eggs that may or may not have labels touting “cage free” or “free-range”. In many cases these labels can be misleading and may not have legitimate certifying agencies checking the conditions of the birds. While local eggs may have a higher price tag, they are much higher quality due to their freshness, meaning they will last longer in your fridge. For farms that truly have free range birds, the eggs will have higher nutrient content from their mixed diet including seeds, bugs, and grasses. Studied have shown levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D and E, and beta carotene content are increased in pasture raised birds as opposed to those raised on grain alone. There is also a higher level of antioxidants in fresh, pasture raised eggs while fat and cholesterol levels are decreased. Lastly, local pasture raised birds are able to protect the soil through pest and weed control as they eat the grasses and dig for beetles and grubs – they are a perfect example of a sustainable farming method that produces a higher quality product and returns nutrients and benefits back to the farm itself.

At the farmers’ market you will see a variety of eggs from many species of chickens, as well as gooseduckchickeneggsgeese, ducks and quail, and coming in a range of colors from blues and greens, to salmon, brown and traditional white. Their size and nutrient content varies between all of them. Duck eggs have a thicker shell than chicken eggs. They have a higher albumin (protein) content, which makes them more ideal for baking, making cakes and fluffy pastries. Duck eggs have a lower water content, but are higher in omega-3s, vitamins A and D, minerals, protein, fat and cholesterol as compared to chicken eggs. Because of the lower water content, it is important to be careful to not overcook these eggs. Those who are allergic to chicken eggs are not necessarily allergic to duck eggs.

Goose eggs are most available in the spring time. Geese lay only about 40 eggs per year, so these can be more expensive and harder to come by. These eggs are larger and have a thicker shell than chicken eggs. They also have a higher yolk to white ratio. The thick shell can be good for crafting.

Quail eggs are about a quarter of the size of a chicken’s egg. They also have a higher yolk to white ratio. Quail eggs are great boiled and are a great snack size, appetizer or garnish.



Say Cheese! The Importance of Calcium for Growing Kids

Written by Emily Whitmore, Seacoast Eat Local Intern


This week is Dairy and Kids’ day at the Market! Dairy plays a fundamental role in children’s diets because it contains beneficial nutrients for bone health. Calcium is a mineral found in dairy products that is stored in the bones and teeth for structural and functional purposes. During childhood we experience rapid bone growth; therefore it is a critical time to make certain that our bones are getting sufficient amounts of calcium to ensure healthy and maximum growth. Below shows the recommended dietary allowances of calcium for all ages. To get an idea of what some of this might look like, 1 ½ slices of cheese or 1 cup of low fat milk, yogurt or calcium fortified juice all contain about 300 mg of calcium each.


Recommended Dietary Allowances for Calcium:

0-6 months = 200 mg/day

7-12 months = 260 mg/day

1-3 years = 700 mg/day

4-8 years = 1,000 mg/day

9-18 years = 1,300 mg/day

19-70 years = 1,000 mg/day

71+ years = 1,200 mg/day


A pediatric dentist from Dentistry @ its Finest explains that our bodies cannot produce calcium and will take calcium from our bones if we don’t get enough. This can lead to low bone mass or develop into osteoporosis, or porous/fragile bones. This is why it is critical to include calcium-rich foods into our diets. Below are some calcium-rich sources and where they can be found at the market:



  • Brandmoore Farm: raw cow’s milk
  • Brookford Farm: raw cow’s milk
  • Jesta Farm: raw goat’s milk



  • Brookford Farm: Camembert, Brie, feta, cottage cheese, quark and raw cheddar made with dairy from grass-fed livestock
  • Hickory Nut Farm: goat milk cheese
  • Wolf Meadow Farm: Italian artisan cheeses such as mozzarella, ricotta, caciocavallo, caciotta, scamorza and primo sale



  • Brandmoore Farm: whole milk yogurt
  • Hickory Nut Farm: yo-goat-gurt


***Remember, dairy isn’t the only source of calcium. Non-dairy sources of calcium such as kale and collard greens are available at the market as well!


Calcium works closely with another mineral called Phosphorus. About 85% of Phosphorus in our body is found in our bone and teeth. It plays a role in bone mineralization and maximizes bone strength. Phosphorus is found in many food sources such as dairy products, meat, fish, nuts, beans and whole grains.


Lastly, it is important to get plenty of Vitamin D. Vitamin D also plays a role in bone health because it improves calcium absorption and promotes optimal bone formation. Sources of Vitamin D include the sun, supplements and food sources such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna) and fortified products (milk, orange juice, cereals). The Daily Value of Vitamin D for children/adults above the age of 4 is 400 IU/day.


An excellent way to sneak calcium into the diet of stubborn children is through one of their favorite recipes – macaroni and cheese! Skip the processed stuff from the box and make your own! Or if you’re looking for a lighter option, whip up a refreshing, calcium-rich smoothie for your children to enjoy! See recipes below.


Stovetop Mac and Cheese from

1 ¼ cups uncooked elbow macaroni (about 6 ounces)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups (5 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 slice of bread
1 tablespoon butter, melted


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

Combine milk and flour in a medium saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add cheese, salt, and pepper, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add pasta; toss to coat. Let stand 4 minutes.

Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until the crumbs measure 1 1/4 cups.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs, and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in melted butter; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over pasta mixture.


Yogurt-Fruit Smoothie from

2 cups fat-free milk
1 (8-ounce) container of plain or vanilla yogurt
½ cup Vitamin-D fortified orange juice
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 banana, coarsely chopped

Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Serve immediately.


Picture Credits:



Nutrition Through the Life Cycle


Dairy At The Market

Written by Kelsey MacDonald
Seacoast Eat Local Intern

Dairy products provide many essential nutrients, especially those associated with bone health. Calcium is a mineral known for building strong bones and teeth and maintaining bone mass and density. Dairy is the primary source of calcium in most people’s diets. It is recommended that at least three servings should be consumed daily to satisfy the body’s needs. Potassium is also found in milk and yogurt and is known for helping maintain a healthy blood pressure. Vitamin D is found mainly in fortified dairy products and is an important vitamin for healthy bones by helping the body absorb calcium. The fat content of dairy varies greatly brandmoredepending if you choose whole, low-fat or skim milk. Lastly, dairy is a source of high quality or complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “Intake of dairy products is linked to improved bone health, and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.”


At the market you will find a wide variety of dairy products and bi-products from both cows and goats. You will find raw milk, raw cream, whole and low-fat raw yogurt, low-fat keifer, fresh and aged cow’s milk cheeses, goat’s milk and goat’s cheese. With the milk, cream and keifer, you will have to plan on paying a bottle deposit. This ranges from $1.50-$2.50 depending on the product size, but is a sustainable packaging practice. See,,,, and to plan ahead for your purchases and learn about the farm.


There is still a lot of controversy about raw milk and its safety for consumers; with many passionate groups fighting for and against the ability to buy it. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims that it is unsafe due to the potential disease causing pathogens present before the milk is heat treated. It is important to ensure your milk is coming from a licensed, clean and regularly inspected facility and from cows that are pasture-raised to reduce this risk. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, milk “can be produced hygienically and benefits are destroyed in pasteurization.” It is also said that while pasteurization kills the bad bacteria, it also kills the good bacteria – hence leading to the continued debate. Raw cheddar cheese is approved in places where fresh raw dairy products are not permitted to be sold, but only if it is aged over 60 days because the longer fermentation period kills off any potential pathogens. While this is a very personal decision, it is important to know your farmer and their practices before buying their products.


Raw milk is also believed to have many health benefits over pasteurized and homogenized milk. You can ensure the milk’s freshness when buying directly from the farmer at the markets or at the farm itself. According to Brandmore Farm, “Many people find it easier to digest raw milk compared to pasteurized milk; it contains enzymes that help break down the milk and aids in the digestive process.” There is no processing; just filtration and cooling. When from grass-fed cows, it contains a high quantity of antimicrobials and a beneficial fatty acid known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3’s fatty acids. It has a fat content of about 3.9 percent depending on the breed of cow or goat. This  higher fat content gives it a full flavor, and leads to more satiety while providing beneficial nutrients. Without being homogenized, the fat globules float to the top and require the milk to be shaken to redistribute the fat before drinking.



Raw cream is especially exciting in the spring time when the cows are back on pastures. Cream is densely packed with nutritional value, including fat soluble vitamins and beneficial bacteria. It is great for making your own fresh butter and buttermilk, adding to coffee, cooking and whipping. The beneficial bacteria and enzymes aid in digestion, which are typically lost during heating through pasteurization.


Similarly, raw yogurt, whole and low-fat from cow’s and goat’s milk is packed with beneficial bacteria and enzymes, known as probiotics. Plain yogurt can be tangy, but allows for the opportunity to flavor it your own way if you’d prefer. It is also great to add to a smoothie, especially if you have any frozen berries from the summer! Keifer is similar to yogurt in the way that they are both cultured milk products, but keifer is drinkable and easier on the go. Because of the smaller curd size, keifer is easier to digest for all ages.

lacey white


You can find specialty and artisan cheeses, both fresh and aged at the markets including, but not limited to; raw cheedar, camerbert, brie, feta, cottage, quark (plain, garlic and dill, and horseradish), fresh mozzarella, ricotta, caciocavallo, caciotta, scamorza, lacey white, terrene, and chebar. Each of these varieties has something special to offer. Many of the farms and cheese makers offer samples of their products and flavor profile descriptions at the market allowing you to make the best choice for your pallet.



Other dairy bi-products at the markets include goat milk soap, goat milk fudge, and maple ice cream in the summers.








March 28 is Dairy Day & Kids’ Day at Market!

brandmoore milk 2

There was a time when New Hampshire was dotted with dairies and milk came fresh to your front door. Times have changed and so has the farm landscape, but fresh local dairy is still in abundant supply if you know where to look! Our March 28th Market is celebrating local dairy in many forms. The Winter Farmers’ Market will be at Exeter High School from 10-2. We’ll have local dairy resources, recipes and several farms with a delicious array of dairy goodness. Brookford Farm & Brandmoore Farm will have raw milk, cream, & yogurt while Jesta Farm will be bringing Raw Goat Milk. Numerous awesome cheese varieties will be available from Brookford Farm, Wolf Meadow Farm, & Hickory Nut Farm. (Plenty of samples available!) Plus as part of our Kids’ Day activities, there will be a butter making station using raw cream from Brookford Farm.

veggiesWe are excited to be celebrating our first ever Kids Day! There will be numerous community groups running activities for young and young at heart! Andrea Szirbik will be back at the market with interactive music to entertain and delight. Riverwoods Retirement Center will also be at the market answering questions for those young at heart but close to retirement!

We are very grateful for our ongoing partnership with Cornucopia Food Pantry. They will be at the market collecting fresh food donations and sharing information on their community support programs. Thanks to your generous donations and the generosity of our market vendors, we’ve been able to collect over 1,000 pounds of food this season for area families in need. Please consider picking up some extra veggies to donate at market.

Sensational Sea Vegetables, March 26

algal-ediblesSensational Sea Vegetables
Carol Steingart, Wells-Ogunquit Adult Community Education
Venue: Wells High School, 200 Sanford Rd, Wells, ME
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015
Time: 6 – 8:30 pm
Fee: $35

Join Coastal Carol of Coast Encounters for a delightful culinary journey to the world of sea vegetables. Learn the many nutritional benefits of sea vegetables and the simple methods of preparation to incorporate them into your diet. Carol is a marine educator with over 15 years’ experience educating people of all ages about “life between the tides.” She has made these ancient plants of the sea a regular part of her diet. Find out why and enjoy tasting each of the recipes she prepares. Menu includes: hummus dip and cucumber salad with dulse, DLT sandwich, pinto bean soup with digitata, wild rice pilaf with arame, lemon pudding with agar agar.

For more information:

March is National Nutrition Month!

March is National Nutrition Month®!
Written by Emily Whitmore, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

National Nutrition Month® is a national campaign that aims to educate and provide awareness to the public on the importance of nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle. It was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is the leading organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy was founded by a group of women during World War I as a way to keep track of government food. Today, the organization has expanded to 75,000 members ranging from a variety of professionals including Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists and even students, all dedicated to promoting good health throughout our country.

The academy named “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” as the overlying theme of 2015’s National Nutrition Month®. This returns to the concept of combining physical activity and making informed, lower calorie food choices to reduce the risk of chronic disease, maintain a healthy body weight and promote overall health.

Two food groups that are nutrient dense and support Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle are fruits and vegetables. The farmers’ market has some fruit and a HUGE variety of vegetables available ranging from greens, carrots, potatoes, kohlrabi, beets, apples and much more!


If you’re trying to determine what types of nutrients are contained in each fruit or vegetable, a helpful hint is in the color! Those that are alike in color often contain similar nutrient profiles. Here are some of the nutrients that may be found in each:

Pink/Red (beets, radishes, red bell peppers, tomatoes, apples)

  • Beta-carotene
  • Phytochemicals
  • Lycopene
  • Anthocyanin

Orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash)

  • Beta carotene
  • Vitamin C

Yellow (yellow bell peppers, squash)

  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin A

Green (kale, spinach, micro-greens)

  • Fiber
  • Vitamins A, C, K
  • Folate

Purple (eggplant, purple cabbage, purple carrots)

  • Flavanoids

White (cauliflower, potatoes, onions)

  • Lignans


Another goal of Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle is to increase the consumption of whole grains versus refined grains. The market provides whole grain options such as bread and pastas from The Canterbury Bread Shop and Valicenti Pasta!

Fresh pastas made with whole grains
Fresh pastas made with whole grains

Other whole grains you may find include locally grown wheat berries and Brookford Farm whole-wheat flour. All whole grain options are high in fiber and may help reduce risk of heart disease.


Whole grains are part of healthy well-rounded diet
Whole grains are part of healthy well-rounded diet

Healthy protein sources are also an important component of eating a healthy balanced diet. There are a huge variety of lean proteins available at the winter market such as grass-fed or pastured meats including beef, bison, lamb and chicken. Beans, lentils, cheese and eggs are also excellent protein sources that can be found at the market.

So jump into National Nutrition Month® by stocking up on your favorite fruit, vegetables, whole grains and protein from the next Seacoast Eat Local Winter Market!

For more information or interactive games and quizzes, check out the official website for National Nutrition Month® at


Photo Credits:


Grass-fed Meats Offered at the Winter Farmers’ Markets

Written by Emily Whitmore
Seacoast Eat Local Intern                           


The Seacoast Eat Local farmers’ markets are loaded with many varieties of high quality protein, including grass-fed meats. Protein is an essential part of our diet and is a vital nutrient used to build and repair tissues in the body. When we think of protein, a few sources that typically come to mind include beef, pork, fish and poultry. There are many different management methods when it comes to raising livestock, and today we will discuss the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed meats.

Grass-fed meats, whether beef, bison, or elk are jam packed with flavor. But the difference between grass-fed and corn-fed meats go well beyond taste profiles. Since childhood we’ve been taught that eating lots of greens can be very beneficial for our health, and this holds true for livestock as well! Cows are ruminants and herbivores, who thrive on high quality pasture and hay. One hundred percent grass-fed meats come from livestock that consumed only grass from beginning to end, with no corn or grain supplement at any point during their growth. and and

This grass-only diet is reflected in the meat which is considered lean, and is lower in total fat and calories. Saturated fats are of particular concern when consuming meats because they can raise cholesterol levels which can increase risk of heart disease. However, grassfed meats are lower in these saturated fats when compared to grain-fed livestock. Grassfed meats have also been shown to contain a higher content of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is a fatty acid that has been shown to have cancer prevention benefits. Grass-fed meats are also higher in omega-3s, which are fatty acids that decrease triglyceride levels in the blood and have been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health. Another health benefit includes higher amounts of essential vitamins A and E. These vitamins are necessary in vision health, growth and development, and heart and brain disease prevention. Despite the health benefits, making sure to stick to healthy serving sizes of protein is essential for good health. The recommended portion sizes for lean meat, poultry and fish according to the American Heart Association is 3 oz.


Not only does grassfed meat prove to be beneficial for eaters, but in general the livestock benefit as well. By definition, grass-fed livestock have to have access to pasture and open spaces, meaning that they are not confined to small, overcrowded feedlots. As a result they can experience less stress, which can lead to reduced amounts of disease.

Now that you’re an expert on grassfed meats, pick some up for yourself from the Bison Project, New Roots Farm or Velvet Pastures Elk Ranch at this week’s Pick Your Protein Market! And even if meat isn’t your thing, don’t panic! The market also has plenty vegetarian sources of protein available such as eggs, beans and lentils. Come support our farmers and snag some beans or soybeans from Baer’s Best Farm and some free-range eggs from White Cedar or White Gate Farms!