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Seasonal Eating: Fresh is Best

Have you ever bit into a juicy, vine-ripened tomato? What a difference between that and the greenhouse variety! My husband plants a few varieties of tomatoes every year at our home; I especially love the grape tomatoes. In fact, I would eat the two or three newly ripened ones each day and my husband wondered if that plant had produced any at all! It had, of course -- but the grape tomatoes just didn’t make it to the kitchen. Oh, what rich flavor and texture. You can’t get any fresher than vine-to-mouth. If you’ve had a garden and the wonderful experience of freshly picked produce, I think you’ll agree with me that “fresh is best.”

More and more, Simple Truth is reaching out to area producers so we can bring you fresh, locally raised produce. We want you to have those great flavor experiences even if you don’t have your own garden. There are several reasons to get foods locally and in season:

  • Flavor -- Food that is allowed to ripen naturally will develop the fullest flavor.
  • Better Nutrition -- Vitamins and minerals are developed and retained better if the food is allowed to ripen on the plant. This is especially true for vitamin C levels. Some of the nutritional value can be lost if the food travels thousands of miles to reach your store.
  • In Sync with Our Body Needs -- Fresh summer fruits have a higher level of water content than other foods. This is matched well with warmer weather when we need the fluids to control body temperature and prevent our skin from drying out. Think of how great a cool wedge of watermelon tastes on a hot day. Nature seems to know what we need -- and when we need it!
  • Lower Cost -- Buying foods during their natural season saves money because the supply is plentiful. It’s also cheaper than producing it in greenhouses. Let nature do the work instead of relying on greenhouses. Also, you can save money by buying foods that are traditional to your climate. Take advantage of foods typical to your area. If you live in the warmer, southern states, feast on the plentiful citrus fruits. Live in the northern states? Then apples and cherries are abundant throughout the spring and summer.
  • Variety -- Eating with the season’s harvest helps provide different textures and a better balance of the nutrients our bodies need.
  • Organic -- When we buy local, fresh, organic seasonal foods we will leave a lighter carbon footprint. It also lets us know we are putting natural, Earth-friendly foods into our bodies and those of our family.

For me, the biggest reason to buy fresh, seasonal food is to avoid processing. All of our Simple Truth products are in nature’s form or have been minimally processed. We keep out the preservatives and artificial ingredients. Labels will show if the product is Organic, Natural or Free from 101. We want to keep it simple, fresh, wholesome and delicious.

As we move into early summer, look for strawberries, cooking apples, cherries, organic spring salad mix, organic baby kale, organic whole or mini carrots, rhubarb and organic grape tomatoes.

Savor the season’s best flavors with the following recipes:

Mixed Greens with Fruit Salad:

Serves 4


  • Simple Truth Organic Spring Mix
  • ½ cup Fresh Blueberries (or thawed Simple Truth Organic Frozen Blueberries)
  • ½ cup Fresh strawberries hulled and sliced (or thawed Simple Truth Organic Whole Frozen Strawberries)
  • ½ cup Gorgonzola Cheese
  • Poppy Seed or Vinaigrette dressing for serving

Place greens in a bowl. Drizzle the dressing on top and then toss to coat. Divide the greens among 4 plates or bowls. Top with the blueberries, strawberries and cheese crumbles. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Sautéed Spinach and Tomatoes:

Serves 4


  • 1 Tbsp. Simple Truth Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes

  • 1 package (6 oz.) Simple Truth Organic Baby Spinach

  • 2 tsp. McCormick Mediterranean Herb Seasoning

Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add tomatoes and spinach; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until tomatoes are just softened and spinach is wilted.

Sprinkle with seasoning; toss to coat well. Serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Apple, Carrot & Raisin Salad:

Serves 2-4


  • ½ cup Simple Truth Seedless Raisins

  • 2 Red Delicious apples

  • 2 to 3 Simple Truth Organic Whole Carrots, grated

  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

  • Simple Truth Organic Romaine heart leaves for serving (optional)

Place raisins in saucepan with 2 cups of water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool, drain, then chill.

Peel, core and dice apples. In bowl, add grated carrots and raisins to apples. Blend with mayonnaise.

Chill. Serve on Romaine leaves if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers.

What is your favorite way to use seasonal foods?

Karen Ilhardt

Karen’s role as Home Economist in the Kroger Customer Connect (C|c) is to answer customer questions and write about recipes, ingredient substitutions, and Food Safety.  She holds BS and MS degrees from The Ohio State University’s College of Home Economics with a specialty in Resource Management.  Karen also has teaching credentials from Miami University (of Ohio) and Wright State University. 

After having been a food teacher for 20 years she transferred to the corporate world in 2011.  Farming and crafting have always been a part of her life.  Karen values being part of our food production and preparation processes PLUS  being able to share those experiences with others.  The Simple Truth Brand embraces the wholesome nature of the foods we select and consume which makes a perfect choice for Karen’s lifestyle.

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