By Kaitlin Glynn, Keene State College Dietetic Intern
It’s easy to pick up sandwich fixings and lunch snacks at the supermarket. But when a hot New Hampshire summer brings us a bounty of ripe, flavorful produce, we can choose super-fresh ingredients at our local farmers’ markets instead!
Monadnock Region farmers markets — there are markets available every day of the week — offer much more than just produce. You’ll find bread, jam, meat, eggs, cheese, granola, maple syrup, honey, baked goods and more.
Whatever you buy, choosing these local products has major benefits for the earth, your community, and your health.
- The earth: Local food benefits the earth primarily because it helps reduce fuel emissions that go along with the production and shipment of conventional produce.
- Your community: Buying local puts money back into your community, supporting the families in your neighborhood instead of large corporations.
- Your health: Because the produce doesn’t have to travel far, it more often reaches higher nutrient concentrations as it ripens on the plant, and is less likely to lose those nutrients over time or through damage during transport.
This season, try getting your groceries right from in and around the Monadnock Region. Below are a few ideas to “loc-ify” your lunch.
Easy squeezes for the hectic weekdays:
- Whole or fresh-cut local fruit or veggies. Pair with a low-fat cheese or your favorite healthy dip, such as nut or seed butter, hummus, or yogurt dips.
- Add local veggies on a sandwich (or toss them in a salad).
- Hard-boiled eggs. Look for pasture-raised eggs from a local farm, such as Walpole Valley Farms (NH) or Maple Meadow Farm (VT).
- Classic PB&J. Make it with local jam on local bread!
- Smoothies. Sneak in extra servings of your favorite local fruits and veggies. Don’t forget to use local dairy for the base!
- Turkey sandwiches. All the ingredients for a classic turkey sandwich can be sourced locally. Roast a local pasture-raised turkey and store the sliced meat in your refrigerator. Layer on local bread and top with local cheese — such as Grafton Village Cheese (VT) — lettuce and tomato.
- Zucchini muffins. There always seems to be an abundance of zucchini come late summer. Use some up (and sneak in some extra fiber and nutrients) by making this tasty treat.
- Homemade granola bars. True North Granola Company is Vermont-based and has some delicious flavor varieties. Pick up some local honey too and make your own granola bars!
While you’re prepping and packing, don’t forget about food safety. Always thoroughly wash your produce (even if it’s organic). If you’re brown-bagging something that needs to be chilled, store it in a refrigerator. Better yet, if you can, invest in a reusable insulated lunch bag and tuck an ice pack inside. Happy lunching!