Farming and garden season is finally underway here in Atlantic Canada. The Canadian growing season is at its peak in late spring and summer. With so many local and delicious produce items available, it is the perfect time to start incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
All fruits and vegetables provide a variety of nutrients; however, when produce is travelling less distance and is sold soon after harvest it may retain more nutrients. (Keep in mind that when fresh or local items are not an option for you, frozen are still a good choice, as often these items are flash-frozen at their nutritional peak.)
Of course, there are other benefits to choosing locally sourced products, like reducing your carbon footprint – as it takes less time and energy to ship products to local store shelves than halfway around the world. Buying local also helps to support local farmers, therefore supporting our economy.
Did you know that some produce can be grown in greenhouses year-round? Greenhouses are used in many parts of Canada including here in the Maritimes to extend growing season by regulating temperatures to produce favourable growing conditions beyond just the summer. Innovative storage methods are also now enabling consumers to have access to other local produce such as apples and potatoes for much of the year beyond harvest season.
How do you know where the produce in our store is from? The country or province of origin is found on the product signage in the produce department and sometimes directly on packaging as well. Loblaw stores, including Atlantic Superstore here in Nova Scotia, have a Canadian-first sourcing policy and are the country’s largest purchaser of locally grown food! So if a produce item is available from a Canadian grower, that will always be our first choice to offer to customers.
Many produce items may also have a sticker identifying the country or province of origin. Use these to help find the locally sourced items from our region. Some of the local produce that is currently available at our local Superstores in Nova Scotia include potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes. Enjoy all of the colours of the rainbow when choosing your fruits and vegetables to ensure a variety of nutrients, and work towards filling half of your plate.
Local greenhouse-grown tomatoes are available year-round and account for almost 70 per cent of the tomatoes sold in Loblaw banner stores, including Atlantic Superstore. Try this summer appetizer recipe that uses cherry tomatoes that have been charred in the oven and then scattered over cool, creamy skyr. Serve with crackers or pita for dipping.
Charred Axiany Tomatoes with Lemony Skyr Dip
Charred Axiany Tomatoes:
1 pkg (255 g) PC Axiany Cherry Tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 strips lemon zest (about 3 inches/8 cm each)
2 tbsp (25 mL) PC New World EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp (25 mL) packed brown sugar
½ tsp ( 2 mL) hot pepper flakes
½ tsp kosher salt
Pinch (0.5 mL) black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) PC Plain Skyr Ocelandic Style 0% M.F. Yogurt
¼ tsp (1 mL) grated lemon zest
Pinch (0.5 mL) kosher salt
1. Arrange oven rack in top third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
2. Prepare tomatoes: Toss together tomatoes, garlic, thyme, lemon zest, oil, brown sugar, hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper in large bowl until coated. Spread onto parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Bake in top third of oven until tomatoes are blistered and charred and juice is syrupy, about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare skyr: Stir together skyr, lemon zest and salt in small bowl. Spread onto serving platter.
4. Scatter tomatoes over top skyr. Drizzle with juices. Garnish with or discard thyme and lemon zest. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
Per serving: 140 calories, fat 7 g (1 g of which is saturated), sodium 270 mg, carbohydrate 13 g, fibre 1 g, protein 8 g
Recipe source: pc.ca
Ellen Greenan is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Have a nutrition question? Want to book an appointment or shop with the dietitian? Book online at bookadietitian.ca or contact me by phone at (902) 921-0700 or by email at email@example.com.