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Fresh produce calendar

Fresh produce calendar

The key to sustainable consumerism? Prioritizing local ingredients and in-season fruits and veggies. Eating according to the season has so many advantages! To help you take advantage of fresh food all summer long, we’ve put together an “Eat Local” calendar!


ADVANTAGES

1

Enjoy food that’s 100% fresh

Local, grown-in-Quebec ingredients are harvested much later than they would be if they were imported from other countries. And the fresher an ingredient is, the more nutrients it contains!

2

Reduce your ecological footprint

Consuming local ingredients helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and your ecological footprint.

3

Encourage the local economy

Encouraging the local economy helps support the diversity of local products available: our producers can improve their installations and procedures, thus enabling them to offer certain products all year round.

4

Support local producers

Buying local products either in-store or directly from producers means you know exactly what’s on your plate.

IN-SEASON CALENDAR

May

Radishes

Crunchy and fresh, radishes are the spring snack par excellence! Rich in antioxidants and fibre, they help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Combine them with a bit of rice and toss into a tabbouleh salad!

Fiddleheads

Ostrich fern leaves are harvested while still young. The fronds are tightly coiled and resemble a fiddle, hence the name: fiddlehead. Rich in antioxidants, they’re considered a super-food! They contain vegetable protein and are very high in fibre. Pan-fry and toss them into your favourite pasta dish!

Tip: Prior to cooking, shake fiddleheads in a brown paper bag to help remove their brown outer casing. You can do the same with radishes to remove any excess dirt.

June

Asparagus

This long, lean veggie grows quickly and without needing any chemical fertilizer! 

Its list of benefits is also long: it contains magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamin C. The best way to ensure you get all these nutrients when eating asparagus is to steam-cook it. For a fresh summer dish, serve with Feta or other fine cheeses. And remember to keep it light and let the vegetable’s flavours shine—no complicated or spicy sauces here!

Broccoli

When picking out your broccoli, opt for one that is greenish-blue in colour, with a tight bouquet, and small green leaves at its base. This green veggie helps reduce the risk of certain types of cancers and improves eyesight and memory. Researchers who have studied cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli) have succeeded in isolating a substance called glucosinolate, which helps inhibit cancer cells. To get the most out of these power greens, lightly cook them and toss them in a salad!

Cabbage

When it comes to cabbage, you have lots to choose from: green, purple, kale, etc. Versatile, cabbage can be eaten raw, slightly cooked, or stewed until it melts in your mouth. This leafy green contains cancer-fighting properties, antibacterial sulphates, and antioxidants. Try cutting a fresh head of cabbage in pieces and frying in a pan with onions. Next, add a bit of vegetable broth, Dijon mustard, and soy sauce for the perfect side to meat and fish. 

Cauliflower

Very versatile, cauliflower can be consumed raw, slightly cooked, or stewed. Both its stem and florets are edible. Cauliflower contains an impressive amount of potassium and folic acid, which is essential for pregnant women. To enjoy this vegetable to the max, steam-cook it and serve it with a vinaigrette, or cream, curry, cheese, or béchamel sauce!

Zucchini

A member of the squash family (pumpkins, gourds, etc.), zucchini is harvested young. Considered one of the most easily digestible vegetables, zucchini is recommended for those with sensitive stomachs or gastric diseases. You can enjoy it fresh, spiralled in a summer salad, or with eggs, in quiches, omelettes, or frittatas! 

Fresh herbs

Nothing beats fresh herbs in the summer: cress, chives, basil, dill . . . they all add a touch of flavour to your plate. They boast numerous benefits that are great for around the house and in the kitchen: they help heal scars, are antiseptic, and are packed with antioxidants. Always have a nice selection in the fridge, and make sure they’re fresh when adding them to your recipes. You can add them to your sauces, salads, and grilled meat and fish!

Strawberries

Everyone’s favourite Quebec summer fruit! There exist several strawberry varieties, and despite their sweetness, these colourful berries are packed with healthy nutrients. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, they help fight cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. Highlight them with a sprinkling of pepper, or a handful of fresh mint or basil leaves, and use them to garnish your bowl of vanilla ice cream!  

Lettuce (romaine and frisée)

There are many types of lettuce out there: frisée, head, Boston, iceberg, romaine... and even asparagus! Low in calories and rich in fibre and beta-carotene, lettuce is delicious served with your favourite condiments and protein, such as eggs, fish, meat, or tofu. 

Green onions

Green onions are commonly referred to as “shallots” or “chives.” Although their mineral properties are negligible, they add a ton of taste to any dish without weighing it down with carbohydrates! Slice them and sprinkle on grilled meat or poultry, or use as a garnish for your omelette!  

Potatoes

These thin-skinned tubers are considered the “base” of many diets around the world. Super versatile, they can be prepared a thousand and one different ways. Rich in fibre and antioxidants, they help protect cells damaged by aging. Grate them raw, shape into patties, and fry in a pan until golden brown. 

Rhubarb

This vegetable has long green, red, or pink stems (the stems are the only edible part) that resemble that of a celery. Rhubarb is an excellent source of fibre and can be enjoyed as a purée to help with digestion. Do not cook or consume the leaves, as they contain oxalic acid, which is toxic! You can press the stems and use the tart juice (in lieu of lemon juice or vinegar) to make vinaigrettes for your salad!

Tip: To preserve your herbs all year long, cut them while they’re fresh and store them in the freezer . . . that way you can enjoy fresh herbs even in winter!

July

Eggplant

There exist several varieties of this summer vegetable. Most are dark purple, almost black, but some are white, yellow, or pale green. When consumed regularly, eggplants help lower cholesterol. Try grilling then pureeing it. Then, just add lemon juice and olive oil for a hummus-like spread that’s oh-so-delicious!

Beets

A root vegetable whose deep red-purple colour is known for staining everything it touches! Packed with mineral salts and antioxidants, beets can also help prevent certain types of cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Use them to make chutney (kind of like a sweet salsa), add them to your salads (depending on the variety you choose), turn them into fries, or pickle them.

Blueberries

Sometimes cultivated, sometimes wild, blueberries are the North American version of bilberries. They boast loads of benefits, including the power to help curb diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and bladder infections.

Let them steep in white wine or apple cider vinegar for a few days and you’ll have yourself a delicious vinaigrette for all your favourite salads.

Carrots

A classic Quebec root vegetable that is often orange (but not always!). Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron, carrots help lower cholesterol. They can be enjoyed raw with a homemade dip, or in a yummy cold summer soup!

Cucumbers

Cucumbers come from the same family as squash and melons. Very refreshing, they’re the perfect summer veggie. They contain loads of fibre and contribute to a healthy gut. To enjoy their full benefits, consume them skin-on. Try making a summer gaspacho or cucumber and cheese sandwich!

Raspberries

These berries are the healthiest of the bunch! The Gallic acid they contain have antimicrobial and antivirus properties. Add them to chia pudding or to your summer salads! 

Beans (yellow and green)

These long vegetables are filled with seeds that resemble small peas. They are very high in fibre, and contribute to a healthy heart and gut. You can chop them into pieces and add them to rice, millet, or quinoa salad. 

Corn

Consumed both as a cereal and as a vegetable, corn is one of Quebec’s most popular vegetables! Gluten-free, it’s recommended for people with celiac disease or who are gluten intolerant. They’re delicious boiled or grilled on the BBQ, slathered in butter, or added to a salsa or salad!

Onions

This bulb, consumed across the globe, is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world! They help with weight loss, have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, and are good for the immune system. Cut them into a “star” shape, dip in breadcrumbs, and grill on the BBQ for a simple, yet delicious dish!

Peppers

This vegetable varies in colour, from green to red depending on how ripe it is. When choosing peppers, opt for ones with taut, smooth skin!

They help prevent breast cancer and lower cholesterol.

Diced with eggs, peppers make a mean Chakchouka, a delicious tomato-based ratatouille.

Rutabaga

Also known as a turnip, this vegetable is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage! Packed with vitamin C, it’s great for boosting the immune system during the winter. Purée it and serve as a side dish, add to a cheesy casserole, or make a soup out of it! 

Tomatoes

Half-fruit, half-vegetable, tomatoes grow everywhere in Quebec and are ripe for the picking come July. Rich in beta-carotene, tomatoes are great for the skin and have cancer-fighting properties. For a delicious salad, simply toss with bocconcini and basil!

Tip: Take advantage of the abundance of root vegetables to make soups and sauces to freeze. When fruits and vegetables are frozen while they’re fresh, they retain all their healthy properties and fresh flavours.

August

Garlic

A staple in all kitchens, this small bulb adds big flavour to everything! Packed with antioxidants, garlic plays an important role in fighting age-related diseases, plus it’s an anticoagulant. Place a whole bulb in aluminum foil and cook on the BBQ—it’ll turn flavourful and tender, the perfect addition to any dish! 

Cerise de terre

Ce petit fruit jaune éclatant se cache dans une « enveloppe » dont la texture ressemble un peu à du papier. Antioxydante, elle pourrait jouer un rôle dans le traitement de l’asthme, de la malaria, du rhumatisme et de l’hépatite. À déguster dans un ketchup aux fruits ou dans une compotée, pour accompagner une viande.

Winter squash

From a botanical standpoint, squash are fruit, but we tend to view—and cook—them as vegetables! Rich in protein, their seeds contain essential fatty acids

(Linoleic acid) and vitamin E, know for its antioxidant properties. Purée them and use the mixture to fill

won-ton pastries for yummy raviolis in no time!

Apples

Quebec’s emblematic fruit, apples line grocery store shelves year-round! Their antioxidant properties mean they help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. They can be consumed as-is or baked. A go-to classic? Apple crisp! Bite-sized pieces of apple topped with oats, butter, brown sugar, and lemon!

Tip: Quebec garlic has a flavour profile all its own! Buy it when it’s fresh, dice it, and add to your marinades, which can be stored for weeks in your fridge! 

September

Cranberries

Many people don’t realize that this small tart berry is grown right here in Quebec! Good for the heart, stomach, and teeth, and known to help lower cholesterol, this power berry also helps prevent certain cancers, as well as bladder infections. Enjoy them dried, or fresh in muffins, cakes, and sweet breads!

Tip: Cranberries are extremely easy to preserve . . . you don’t even have to wash them! Simply place them in a paper bag and store in the fridge; they’ll keep for up to two months!