Time for U-Pick Farms

By Diane Ruyack

It is time to think about harvesting your own garden produce or checking out u-pick farms. This website will give you all the information you would need to pick your own tomatoes, peaches or blueberries that will be in season in August. There is nothing better than to pick your own fruit or veggies. It is also a great way to help your children learn where their food comes from. We are so isolated from the farm that most people have never been involved in agriculture. In this economy, freezing or canning your own food would be an economic savings.

August is peach month. Peaches are a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A) and a small amount of the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin.  Raw tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of vitamin K, plus beta-carotene. They also contain the phytochemical lycopene, as evidenced by their red color. Research suggests lycopene may protect against prostate cancer. Lycopene is especially concentrated in processed tomato products such as tomato sauce, paste and juice.  They are rich in flavor and low in calories. Their juiciness is a perfect antidote to summer heat and their healthy dietary fiber will help fill you up. They also supply natural cancer-fighting phytochemicals and vitamins.

Peach-Tomato Salsa

2 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 yellow bell pepper

Although all bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, yellow peppers are the variety highest in the nutrient, providing almost six times the recommended Daily Value per large pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in quarters

1/4 cup thinly chopped green onions. Also known as scallions, green onions are in the allium vegetable family with their bigger cousins, from Vidalia to white and yellow onions, garlic and chives. Onions may help prevent stomach cancer and contain anti-cancer phytochemicals called organosulfides and quercetin.

2 Tbsp. lime juice. Citrus fruits are a source of vitamin C and flavonoid phytochemicals (about 1 lime)

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. A healthy fat, olive oil is largely monounsaturated and, over time, may help lower “bad” cholesterol (low density lipoprotein, or LDL). It contains 119 calories per tablespoon.

1 Tbsp. freshly chopped mint leaves. Fresh spearmint is a source of flavonoid phytochemicals.

Place peaches, yellow pepper, tomatoes and green onion in medium sized bowl. Add lime juice and olive oil; mix thoroughly. Let salsa marinate for up to 1 hour. Sprinkle with mint before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 70 calories, 5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 8 g carbohydrates,

1 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 0 mg sodium.

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