Last year, I visited a good friend in Vermont. She and her family live in an old farmhouse on a bunch of land — enough for a massive garden, where she grows most of the plants they eat.
Picture rolling green hills, baskets of bright heirloom tomatoes, and little kids in galoshes. (Plus a layer of potting soil on most household surfaces).
My friend’s family eats from their own farm to table pretty much every night. She knows nutrients.
So it was really funny when she looked up from a steam pot one night and brazenly announced, “I like my green beans overcooked.” Like, limp. Like, wilted. Like you’re not supposed to like them.
1. Eat locally grown food soon after it’s been picked.
Eating locally grown and “straight from the earth” maximizes the vitamins and minerals (and deliciousness) you get from your produce.
Plucking them from the soil (or vine, or bush, or tree) means separating them from their nutrient source. The longer they’re separated, the more nutritional value they lose.
Some experts estimate that by the time you pick up a “fresh” fruit or vegetable at the grocery store, it may have lost 15-60 percent of many vitamins … unless you can buy and eat it within 72 hours of harvest.
Forget organic vs. traditional — that’s another debate altogether — when it comes to nutrients, local is king. That’s why hitting a local farm, or farmers market, ensures that you’re getting the most nutrient-dense product.
My only problem: I live in New Jersey. And not the “Garden State” part, either. Shop Rite (or “Shop Wrong”, as a neighbor calls it) is much more convenient than our cute but very limited farmer’s market.
Plus, there’s winter. Not a ton of freshly harvested produce to be had in the American northeast from November to June.
Thankfully, there are a lot of other ways to get the most nutrition from the food you eat — without having to sell your home and move out to the country.