More than ever, local growers are introducing unfamiliar fruits, veggies and herbs to the public. Whether at the farmer’s market or through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivery, you’re bound to come across more unfamiliar produce than you would at the supermarket. Here are a few options that will get you newly excited about adding immunity-boosting nutrients to your dinner table!

Foraged Foods

CSAs, in particular, are known for rounding out farm-grown deliveries with wild-harvested greens. But rather than feeling slighted by these “weeds,” consider them an antioxidant bonanza.

Dandelion greens and stinging nettles (which lose their sting with cooking) are spinach alternatives that are packed with calcium and vitamins. In fact, earlier generations prized these members of the “spring tonic” group for that touch of bitterness they added to bland dishes. Wild spring greens can be tossed into stir-fries and quiches.

New Versions of Old Favorites

The more colorful a fruit or vegetable is, the more it’s likely to be rich in antioxidant vitamins. In terms of immunity-boosting nutrients, “rainbow” foods are generally better nutritional bets than some of the usual pantry staples.

Instead of buying white-fleshed potatoes, wander the market booths to seek out colorful alternatives. You’ll get about four times the antioxidant content in purple potatoes, for example, than in the traditional kind, while the texture is closer to “regular” potatoes than to sweet potatoes.

As an alternative cauliflower to ho-hum white, farmer stands may draw your your eye with an orange type, with its striking hue and high beta carotene content, or the purple variety, rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin. Alternatively, seek out romanesco, considered a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. Its greenish hue indicates the increased antioxidant content it contains, along with other vitamins.

Microgreens, a market and CSA staple because they grow so quickly, are not only a great alternative to pale lettuces like Iceberg, but also to their “older” siblings. Microgreens are mixtures of young vegetable leaves such as  red cabbage and spinach. Yet these “babies” boast nutrients that are much more concentrated than those found in the older leaves.

Add them to your tossed green salads for extra color, texture — and, of course, their immunity-boosting nutrients.

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