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Melissa Webb is a certified yoga instructor that lives in the Geist area.

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. As we make our way outside after a long winter, our thoughts often turn to the garden. We all want fresh food, but we don’t all have a green thumb. Thank goodness the Farmer’s Market has made a huge comeback in recent years. The push to eat local and organic drives more people to support Indiana’s smaller farms. It’s good for the local economy, good for the planet, and good for nutrition.

Farmer’s markets enhance our sense of community. They become a weekly activity that the entire family can enjoy. There’s more than vegetables at the local farmer’s market. Local artisans bring bread, cheese, eggs, meat, even baked goods, caramel corn and flowers. Here are several other trends that go hand-in-hand with the farmer’s market:

Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) differs from the farmer’s market in that you purchase a “share” of a local farm, usually an organic farm, and you share in the harvest all summer long. CSA’s differ slightly in their set up, but generally you pay for the entire season in advance. Then as the season progresses, you receive
a weekly delivery of whatever the farm has harvested. Each farm grows different vegetables based on their location, soil, etc. You’re bound to see Indiana favorites like tomatoes and cucumbers, but might also be surprised by mushrooms or melons.

Joining a CSA is a food adventure and a great way to eat not only local but seasonal. There’s still time to find and sign up for a CSA before the season is too far underway.

Canning

CSA’s and Farmer’s Markets have brought back the age-old tradition of canning.

Many of us recall the days when Grandma spent hours in the kitchen putting up green beans and tomato juice. Now a new generation has embraced this practice. All you need is a pressure canner, lots of produce, and some extra time. Canning can be a lot of fun and the whole family can help. Short on extra time? Many veggies can be frozen instead.

Juicing

Juicing is also a hot trend these days. All you need a juicer and an excess of produce. The fun is in creating new blends that will please everyone in the family. Most people think of fruit when they think of juice. Most fruits, except the banana, make wonderful juice, but they can be high in sugar. Juicing the many varieties of vegetables is a great way to lower the sugar content of juice, while increasing the nutritional value.

Of course, the grill is a great way to cook vegetables, and many veggies can go into a big salad on those nights when it seems too hot to be in the kitchen. So head out to your local farmer’s market, pick up what looks fresh and delicious, and do something creative with them.

For more information, visit Melissa Webb’s website at www.breathlifeyoga.com.

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