Looking for a way to make a difference this year? Make a resolution to put more local food on your table. We’re sharing five BC-produced items that can make a big difference to you and your community - not only are these locally-grown products nutritionally powerful, but they support local farmers!
Blueberries are associated with all sorts of health benefits: a good source of fibre and vitamin C, blueberry consumption has also been linked with improving insulin response and lowering blood glucose levels. What’s more, blueberries rank number one in antioxidant health benefits compared to 40 other fruits and vegetables. And this tiny fruit has a powerhouse role to play in BC’s economy. With over 600 blueberry producers, BC is one of the largest highbush blueberry growing regions in the world. Look for the BC Grown logo in the produce aisle and in the freezer section of your local grocery store to get your hands on delicious BC Blueberries!
The next time you’re pouring milk on your children’s cereal, consider this: Canada has some of the highest standards for milk production in the world. Growth hormones are not permitted for use with Canadian dairy cows, and extensive quality checks ensure that milk is safe. There are loads of health benefits to dairy: in addition to being a good source of calcium and vitamin D, milk is an excellent rehydrator (in fact, it scored higher than sports drinks and water in this study). And, a diet that combines milk products with fruit and veggies can fight hypertension. Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria that can aid digestion, and cheese is a nutrient-dense food that’s high in calcium, protein and vitamin B12. Dairy is one of the easiest food products to source locally because it comes from your local dairy farmers - just head to your grocery store and look for the one of two logos that say “Made With 100% Canadian Milk” or “Dairy Farmers of Canada Quality Milk.” Or, check out this list of all of the dairy processors in BC.
When you buy BC greenhouse veggies like tomatoes, you’re making a healthy choice. While you can enjoy more than 9 different varieties of BC greenhouse-grown tomatoes - from Beefsteak to Cocktail tomatoes, they all share one important element: lycopene, an antioxidant that may prevent certain forms of cancer and heart disease. Thanks to BC greenhouse growers, you can get these nutritious ruby-red veggies nearly year round. And don’t forget about the other greenhouse veggies like peppers, cucumbers and eggplant! Buying BC greenhouse-grown veggies supports sustainable farming practices in multiple ways.
Did you know that BC is the second largest mushroom-producing province after Ontario? Full of umami, mushrooms punch up the flavour of any dish you include them in, from ramen to risotto, and they’re packed with health benefits. They are a low calorie, natural source of vitamin D and calcium, and they contain important proteins and anti-viral agents (so if you’re fighting off the sniffles, include them in your next bowl of soup!).
Eggs are a wonderful source of nutrition all tied up in a neat and tidy package. Each egg is only 70 calories, with 6 grams of high quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids. And because they contain nutrients like choline and lutein, they even support healthy brain development and vision. In B.C. we are lucky to have an abundance of choice when it comes to eggs. There are five types of eggs: conventional caged, enriched, free run, free range, and organic. There’s no nutritional difference between these eggs - it simply refers to the type of housing system that the hens are raised in.
Don’t forget about all of the other local food options, from meats and grains to fruits and vegetables! B.C. farmers and ranchers are dedicated to producing safe, high quality food for their families and yours. It helps that local foods are not only good for you, but they’re absolutely delicious and versatile in lots of recipes. Try our recipe finder for inspiration (it’s searchable by ingredient) or join us on Facebook or Instagram, where we’re sharing local recipes and farmers’ stories daily.