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  • Writer's pictureCamille Pincock, MPAS, PA-C

Savor Fresh Flavors and Nourish Your Heart at Local Eugene Springfield Area Farms

Summer Eats for a Healthy Heart and Body!


Fresh farm vegetables woman and child

Summer is here, and with it comes a bounty of fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables! This vibrant produce isn't just a treat for your taste buds; it's a fantastic way to nourish your heart and your entire body. Summer’s bounty provides an opportunity to revitalize your diet with nature’s most flavorful and nutrient-packed offerings. The colors, textures, and tastes of summer produce not only make meals more enjoyable but also ensure you're fueling your body with the best possible nutrients.


Eating heart-healthy isn’t just about avoiding bad fats; it’s about embracing whole foods packed with the nutrients your body craves. When you fill your plate with fresh, unprocessed foods, you’re giving your body the tools it needs to maintain optimal health. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are the cornerstone of a heart-healthy diet. These foods are not just filling; they are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that work together to support heart health and overall well-being.


Why Whole Foods and Heart Health Go Hand-in Hand


The American Heart Association (AHA) emphasizes a dietary pattern focused on whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. These foods are naturally lower in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars – all culprits for heart troubles. Diets high in saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars can lead to elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease. By prioritizing whole foods, you’re reducing these risks and actively supporting heart health.


On the other hand, whole foods are brimming with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, all essential for keeping your heart and entire body functioning optimally. Vitamins and minerals from whole foods support bodily functions, from maintaining healthy blood pressure to repairing tissues and fighting off illness. Fiber, found in abundance in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, helps to lower cholesterol levels and keeps your digestive system running smoothly. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage and reduce inflammation, a key factor in heart disease. Embracing a diet rich in whole foods is not just about preventing heart disease; it’s about promoting a vibrant, healthy life.


Fresh From the Farm: Embrace the Summer Bounty

Summer is the perfect time to visit your local farmers' markets, where you'll find the freshest, most flavorful produce at its peak ripeness. By supporting local farms, you’re not only getting superior quality food but also contributing to your community’s sustainable practices.


Beyond the Plate: A Holistic Approach to Heart Health


Remember, a healthy heart is part of a healthy lifestyle. In addition to a balanced diet, regular exercise, managing stress, and getting enough sleep are all crucial for optimal heart health. So, soak up the sunshine, embrace the local bounty, and celebrate a summer that’s good for your heart and your whole body!


Enjoy the Bounty of Local Eugene Springfield Area Farms


Here are a few local farms in the Eugene Springfield area that sell fresh farm vegetables and fruit.


  • Thistledown Farm: Located just north of Eugene, Thistledown Farm is a family-owned and operated farm offering farm-fresh vegetables, fruits, u-cut flowers, baked goods, nuts, free-range grass-fed beef, and a full nursery hey also have a social media presence where you can track what's currently in season https://thistledownfarm.net/.

  • Johnson Vegetable Farms: A family-owned and operated farm and one of the oldest local farms in Lane County, Johnson Farms offers fresh produce hand-picked daily. They believe in sustainable, local, and seasonal eating. They have a farm stand where you can pick up produce in season and enjoy activities like U-Pick Raspberries (June-July) and Pumpkins (October) https://johnsonfarmseugene.com/.

  • Twin Oaks Farm: Specializes in providing high-quality vegetables and fruits year-round through greenhouses and various growing techniques https://www.willowandoakfarm.com/csa.

  • Hentze Family Farm: Located in Junction City, Hentze Farm was established in 1902. Hentze’s specialize in pitting cherries, cutting corn, snipping and cutting green beans, pressing apples for cider, and cracking walnuts and hazelnuts.  


These are just a few examples, and many other fantastic farms are operating in the the Eugene/Springfield and surrounding area. It's recommended to search online for "Eugene Oregon local farms" or visit Eugene area farmers market websites to find a comprehensive list and explore the offerings closest to you.


It's always a good idea to call the farm or check their website before you head out to see what they have available and their current operating hours.  You can also look online for a directory of Eugene-area CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) farms that offer weekly or bi-weekly deliveries of fresh produce throughout the growing season.

 

Recipe: Rainbow Veggie Skewers with Zesty Lemon Herb Marinade

Celebrate summer’s vibrant vegetables with this heart-healthy and delicious dish that aligns with the AHA's dietary recommendations.

Rainbow Vegetable Skewers

Ingredients

1 bell pepper (any color), cut into chunks

1 red onion, cut into wedges

1 zucchini, cut into chunks

1 yellow squash, cut into chunks

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Wooden skewers


Instructions

In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Add vegetables to the marinade and toss to coat. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, or longer for deeper flavor.

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Thread vegetables onto skewers, alternating colors for visual appeal.

Grill skewers for 5-7 minutes per side, or until vegetables are tender-crisp and slightly charred.

Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce, like yogurt or hummus.

Enjoy the taste of summer and nourish your heart with this vibrant dish!



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