Blog post written by University of Northern Colorado’s Distance Program dietetic intern Taylor Nonnenmacher.
Isn’t it wonderful that due to modern dairy farmer’s production methods, and having farms located here in New England, we can have fresh milk and dairy products year-round, right in our grocery stores? Milk is highly perishable, but over the millennium we found ways to preserve it so we can enjoy it for longer. With much of the food on our plates coming from around the world to get to us, sometimes losing nutrients the longer they travel, it is relieving to know that cows are our neighbors and our milk is always fresh.
Local? Seasonal? What is the difference?
For the purpose of this blog, local food refers to food that is grown within 150 miles of you and seasonal food is that which is purchased and consumed during the time it is harvested. Overall, it is certainly easier to eat locally and seasonally in some geographic areas rather than others. However, regardless of location there are year-round, budget friendly ways to connect with your area, and enjoy the many benefits of local and seasonal foods. If you had a serving of dairy today, you’re already on the right track!
Food preservation to preserve bounty of good harvest
Crack open that peach jam and pair it with some beautiful, baked Brie cheese. You may be familiar with some ways to preserve fruits and vegetables and meats such as freezing, drying, canning, and fermenting. Did you know that the creation of cheese was an original way to preserve milk so we could enjoy dairy all year long? All that lovely spring/summer cream from peak calving season made for delicious butter and cheese to satiate a winter dairy craving. Now, all winter long dairy farmers are working diligently to provide us with high quality milk that can help us meet our nutritional needs, which is made into milk, cheese, yogurt and more. Speaking about nutrition needs, milk is a great source of vitamin D to help us through New England cold weather months when we don’t get as much sun. Learn more about dairy as a source of vitamin D in this blog post.
Delicious, nutritious & connected
We often have a variety of foods available at our fingertips in the grocery store every day, even though we may gravitate towards different foods in the winter vs summer. Seasonality leads to variety throughout the year, and variety means more balance and nutrition for our bodies. It may look like topping yogurt with fresh berries in the summer and filling up with a warm, root vegetables soup in the winter. It reconnects us with the natural rhythm of the land we live on, delivers fresh taste, and supports the farmers in our communities.
What is local and in season this spring in New Hampshire?
Spring is upon us! You can research your location on this seasonal food guide or read about seasonal produce here on Snap Ed from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). If you live near an ocean, check out what is local on the seacoast. Another great way to find out what is growing nearby during different times of the year is to stop by your local farmer’s market. There are lots of great vegetables you can pair with your favorite dairy foods to maximize versatility and nutrition of the season.
For starters, you can try out this seasonal potato mushroom soup recipe for New Hampshire or this scalloped potatoes with yogurt and cheese from our friends at Cabot.