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Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

My favourite part about summer in Ontario is the amazing selection of local produce. Mid-summer is my favourite, with the abundance of fresh greens, berries, cherries, zucchini, peaches, and the list goes on and on. Today I am sharing the top five reasons for buying seasonal produce and a very delicious cherry recipe.

Top 5 benefits of buying seasonal produce:

1) Cost - seasonal eating is cost effective, the more produce we have available the less it will cost. It's simple, as the farmers produce more, the price for consumers decreases. Yesterday I purchased a full bag of cherries for $4.07, when the same bag would have cost over $10.00 a month or so ago.

2) Taste - freshly picked produce is colourful, juicy, fresh and so tasty. I can remember growing up picking cherries, raspberries and even tomatoes straight from the tree or vine and the taste is incomparable. My favourite example is the tomato, the taste of fresh and local tomatoes is incredible compared to the not in season tomatoes purchased mid-winter.

3) Better nutritional quality - seasonal produce are picked when they are ripe. This means the plant has more exposure to sun and has the opportunity to fully develop (which also creates more antioxidants). When plants are harvested too early (which is often the case when they need to be transported around the world) they have not fully developed their nutrient profile.

4) It's better for our environment - seasonal produce grows well in our climate, meaning it needs less support to grow (e.g., less pesticides, modification, etc.). There is also a lot more potential to find cheap organic produce that is seasonal because the fruits/veggies can grow so well without that additional support. In addition, many small farmers cannot afford to go through the organic certification but do indeed use organic practices in their farming, just ask next time you are at the local farmers market.

Further, there is less mileage used when transporting the produce locally to the retailers, making seasonal eating an overall win-win!

5) Seasonal eating supports your health - seasonal produce provides us with nutrients that support our bodies needs during each season. For example, in the summer we need to keep cool and energized so things like watermelon, cucumbers, berries, zucchini are light, refreshing and contain a high water content. In the fall things like squash, pumpkin, apples are in season, all of which are hearty and nutrient dense preparing our bodies for the winter ahead. In the winter many of the vegetables and fruit available are rich in vitamin C (e.g., squashes) which we need to support our immunity and ward of illness.

Cherry season is one of my favourite seasons. My husband actually said I am going to turn into a cherry soon enough (that's how much I've been eating them). Have you been doing the same?

I not only love the taste of cherries but I also love the memories attached to them. Both my grandfathers had cherry trees and I have many fond memories picking cherries with them and swinging from the tire swing attached to one of them covered in cherry juice.

I love to bake healthy treats but realized I've never baked with cherries, so I decided to give it a try. These cookies turned out absolutely perfect and the best part is they have a very small amount sugar and tons of fibre. I hope you love these healthy oatmeal cookies as much as I do!

Enjoy this beautiful summer Sunday and hopefully some cherry cookies too!

Cheers to happy and healthy seasonal eating. :)

Until next time,

Eat Right Feel Right - Angela XO

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