Apricots and Farmer's Markets Vol. 4 was guest-written by Down to Earth Nutrition’s Dietetic Intern Emily Stefforia, edited by Cristina Luibil, MS, RD, LDN
As a member of the New Market Green Team, Down to Earth Nutrition has volunteered to write a blog series about seasonal, local produce and tying in the nutrition of the food that is locally grown. Volume 4 has been guest-written by DTEN Dietetic Intern Emily.
Down to Earth Nutrition practices under the premise of "Sustainable Nutrition for Lifelong Wellness™️" or the act of being able to sustain an enjoyable way of eating for the long term as a part of maintaining lifelong wellness. Food, nutrition, and eating should not induce apprehension, and should always be sustainable in that we do not have to take a break from our eating habits in order to enjoy ourselves, our food, and our life.
Sustainability with food also ties in agriculture, the environment, and a way to ensure our food supply for generations to come. This includes, but is not limited to: eating seasonal and locally procured foods, gardening, and supporting local farmers, bakers, and other local food artisans.
If you've been following along with Nourishing New Market this season, you know that we have been writing about what you can grow and harvest in your community garden plot, brought to us by the New Market Grange No. 362, Grow Frederick, and New Market Green Team. The picture above is the New Market Community Garden today! It's so great to see New Market Residents grow their own food.
Whether or not they are growing in your garden plot, apricots are in season in Maryland through July, according to the Maryland Fruit Seasonality Chart! You can find them at local farmer's markets or through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), if you participate.
Apricots, commonly mistaken for a peach, are a part of the Rosaceae family. They are known for their sweet and vibrant taste, with the occasional sour note depending on how ripe they are. You can enjoy them fresh, tossed in a salad, grilled, preserved into a jam, and more!
Additionally, apricots have great health benefits due to their vitamin and mineral content. Apricots are a great source of vitamin A (see below), vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium (see Nourishing New Market Volume 2). Keep reading to learn how apricots can benefit you!
Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene Vitamin A was discussed in Nourishing New Market Volume 1, and it’s important to note that apricots contain a specific type of Vitamin A- called Beta Carotene. Diving into the science, beta-carotene is considered a pigment. Pigments are what give our fruits and vegetables those bright colors - like red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple - which explains where apricots get their vivid orange color from! Our bodies can take carotenoids (like beta carotene) and convert it into vitamin A to be used for all the functions of vitamin A! Read more about vitamin A in Nourishing New Market Volume 1.
Why do we need beta-carotene and vitamin A? Well beta-carotene combined with other carotenoids (like lutein and zeaxanthin- which are also found in apricots), can help promote good eye health. They do this by protecting our retina in our eyes from free radical damage. This helps keep our vision sharp and our eyes from cataracts. Beta-carotene is also known to help keep our largest organ healthy- our skin! Similarly to how it works in our eyes, this carotenoid can help protect the skin from damage (wrinkles and sun damage) on top of a hefty dose of sunscreen. We always defer to the experts in their field, so please talk to your dermatologist about the best sources of skin protection for you.
Apricot’s appetizing flavor along with its multitude of health benefits make it an awesome fruit to grow, add into your CSA, or to purchase at a farmer's market this summer. Grab some apricots and enjoy.
If you live, work, or play in or around New Market, you also have already heard (or visited) the New Market Farmer's Market brought to us by the New Market Green Team. Local vendors with a variety of talents come together two Saturdays per month to showcase their goods and art.
The New Market Farmer's Market has started in June and runs through October 22, 2022 at New Market Elementary School! You may be able to grab some apricots there this season. The next Market is Saturday, July 23 from 10am-2pm!
Would you like specific produce featured on the blog and/or in a recipe? Leave your thoughts in the comments and we will follow up in future volumes of Nourishing New Market.
Want to keep talking nutrition with Down to Earth Nutrition's Registered Dietitian? Contact Cristina for a discovery session here.
Blog Disclaimer: While Cristina Luibil is a registered dietitian, she may not be your dietitian, personally. All blog posts are for informational and educational purposes only and may not be the best fit for your personal situation. Information shall not be construed as medical nutrition therapy. Any recipes you try from DTEN blog posts are tried at your own discretion. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. It is not intended to replace individual nutrition care or nutrition counseling with a registered dietitian. Always check with your own registered dietitian and physician or medical treatment team before trying or implementing any information read here.
If you choose, Down to Earth Nutrition would be happy to help you in your own, individualized sustainable nutrition journey.