When the temperatures drop, cold season always rears its ugly head. Luckily, at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, there are many natural, nutritional ways to help keep the dreaded cold or flu at bay. Vitamin C comes to mind for most people, and there are plenty of rich sources of nature’s immune booster coming into season right now, including sweet, juicy clementines from Olsen Organic Farm, which returns to market this month, as well as other early citrus varieties.
While we naturally think of citrus to get our vitamin C fix, dark leafy greens like kale, mustard greens and cress, as well as bell peppers and kiwi, are also excellent sources. Fresh juices, like pomegranate juice from Twin Girls Farm or tangerine juice from Bernard Ranches, are also an easy and delicious way to get your vitamin C on. Equally as important as vitamin C, upping your intake of beta-carotene-rich foods like winter squash, beet and turnip greens, sweet potatoes and carrots can help you stay healthy during cold season.
At the Sow fresh juice stand at the Thursday and Saturday markets you can score one of their seasonal juices packed with fruits and veggies right from the market. Sow owner Luisa Alberto tells me that one of their most popular blends in the cooler months is “The Prescription,” made with organic apples, celery, kale, mint and parsley. She says that as the holiday season starts to approach and most people start consuming rich, heavy foods , “The Prescription” offers a light, easy way to keep your system in balance while maximizing vitamin intake and hopefully keeping the winter blahs away.
Once a cold strikes, fresh herbs like lemon verbena and mint can be used to make teas. Just add a little Eucalyptus honey from Marshall’s Farm Natural Honey and a slice of Meyer lemon to instantly sooth a sore throat. Chest congestion can be eased by adding a small dash or two of dried cayenne paprika from Happy Quail Farms to a mug of hot water with a squeeze of lemon. Fresh ginger, which can be found at the Chue’s Farm stand, is also great as an additive to tea or a steamy bowl of soup, and freshly grated horseradish from Knoll Farms can unstuff even the stuffiest noses.
When we’re feeling under the weather, it’s natural to turn to soups to cure what ails us. You’ll find just about everything you need at Eatwell Farm to assemble the perfect chicken soup—leeks, carrots, herbs and other veggies as well as quarts of pasture-raised chicken broth. For other great soup ideas using veggies chockfull of vitamins and essential nutrients in the cooler months, check out our collection of winter soups in the CUESA recipe archive.
For market updates and seasonal tips follow Lulu Meyer @farmersmarketlu or check out @CUESA on Twitter