Eating Local in October

It’s finally the start of October, or the time of year we all know as the start of ‘cold and flu season’. Eating well and nourishing your body is important all the time, but especially at this time of year when stress is ramping up, temperatures are dropping, and your September ‘back to school bender’ is catching up to you. So what are some ways that are cheap, quick, easy, and student-friendly that can help you stay on top of your health? My favourite is shopping local and making use of the ingredients around me. Not only is eating locally great for your health, it’s great for your social consciousness and supporting local industry.

The Annapolis Valley is a farming community, filled with farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, and although it’s almost the begging of winter, plenty of goodies are still in season. Late September/early October is a great time for root vegetables, which can make delicious soups – a perfect remedy for the beginning of that sore throat. Carrots are currently in season and paired with some ginger make a great ‘get well soon’ soup, another option being apple squash soup. Local apples are in season, as well as pumpkins, parsnips, squash.  Pair Gravenstein apples with butternut squash to create an interesting sweet soup, perfect for fall weather and impressing your ‘cuffing season’ interest. Or simply use the Gravenstein for a healthy local treat of apple pie or apple tarts that even your grandmother would envy.

If soups aren’t your thing, corn is still in season – yellow corn at this time of year – perfect to pair with some local lamb, for a great end of season BBQ! Some other delicacies that are still available are: local garlic (a well-known cold remedy), brussels sprouts (sauté them in butter and bacon and I promise you you’ll stop hating them), cauliflower, pears, spinach, herbs such as rosemary and basil and sage (with frosts starting any potted herbs would be must safer inside!) beets, and beans!

Now you may be thinking, this all sounds expensive and difficult to do, but when you know where to shop, it is much easier on your wallet than the big-name stores like Walmart, Sobeys, and the Independent.  An accessible spot for fresh and local ingredients that is my go-to is Noggins Corner Farm Market. Located just outside of Wolfville (at a bikeable distance), this farmers market provides not only local fruit and veggies, but local dairy and meat as well. The prices are more than reasonable and I stop here on my way to Sobeys to get all my fresh ingredients. Another small, fun, local spot is of course our local farmers market on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons.

My two personal favourites are Andersons Farm stand in Gaspereau (not only is it right on the farm where the products are grown, there is also an adorable baby cow right next to the stand to say hi to) and Reid’s Meat Market, a wonderful butcher’s filled with local meat, and friendly staff.

Hopefully this article will give you some inspiration to fuel your creative culinary spirit and support local industry, while nourishing your body, keeping away those colds and flus, and keep you healthy throughout the cold weather and rest of the semester.