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August is Local Food Month

By Margie Mansure (

Article Published: Aug. 1, 2013 | Modified: Aug. 1, 2013
August is Local Food Month

Organic yellow squash grows in a local garden, just in time for Local Food Month this August.

Photo submitted

August through September is prime food production time in the High Country, making it possible to consume a huge percentage of your food from locally produced sources. So why not infuse your body with the freshest, most nutrient-dense diet available?

Fresh, whole food is highest in micronutrients, including phyto-compounds that help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. More immediate benefits include a higher energy level, better athletic performance, a stronger immune system and a leaner body.

It is well known that vegetables start losing nutritional benefits soon after they are harvested. Locally available grass-fed meat has also been shown to be a healthier choice than corn-fed. When cows are fed primarily grass, the meat has a greater omega-3 content.

The average American diet contains 11 to 30 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3, a phenomenon that has been hypothesized as a significant factor in the rising rate of inflammatory disorders, such as celiac disease. Certain types of omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in the prevention of atherosclerosis, heart attack, depression and cancer.

I’ve listed ingredients to pick up for your meals based on what is currently available at farmers’ markets. Stepping out into a garden and picking your meal is even better.

Breakfast: freshly baked bread or bagels, jams, jellies, honey, muffins, cereal, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, peaches, eggs, veggies to add to eggs, locally roasted coffee.

Lunch: Purchase plenty of salad fixin’s, such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and peppers, to make a daily lunch salad. Flavored vinegars mixed half and half with olive oil make a great dressing. For sandwiches, try freshly baked bread topped with various types of goat cheese and vegetables. Prepare chicken salad.

Dinner: Protein sources are available from chicken, pork, beef and goat cheese. Starches include pasta, potatoes and freshly baked bread. A good variety of vegetables and plenty of herbs for seasoning are available.

Squash is abundant, and this simple recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Sautéed Summer Squash
4-5 baby yellow or zucchini squash, cut into thin coins
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly chopped oregano
Salt as desired

Place olive oil over medium low to medium heat in large sauté pan.
Add onions, and stir occasionally until golden brown.
Add squash, and continuously stir for two minutes.
Add oregano and salt, and stir until desired tenderness.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. To contact her, email or call (828) 264-3061.

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