It’s Harvest Time! Where to Go for Fresh, Healthy Foods in Northern Colorado

Aug 27, 2018 | Healthy Living, In The Community

It’s harvest season, and there’s no better time to get out and reap the benefits of fresh, healthy foods. We’ve all heard the old saying, “You are what you eat.” And while it might sound trite, it’s a tried and tested idiom that proves consistently true. The foods we eat provide the nutrients (or lack thereof) that determine the strength and function of every cell in our bodies.

So, it’s a good thing our own Northern Colorado community is filled to the brim with amazing sources for freshly picked flavors – especially during these splendid months of summer. And when you choose to eat local, you get fresher, healthier, better-tasting food that spends less time in transit and packs a lot more nutrients as a result. Check out the endless options for wholesome and delicious eats that will keep you going strong. (See our provider tricks of the trade on eating clean, living healthy, and sticking to a budget sprinkled throughout.)

I like eating healthy because I feel better when I do, but also it decreases cancer rates and cardiovascular disease risks. Plus, it’s better for the planet. A favorite healthy tip is make my own homemade soup. It’s a cheap, easy, and wholesome option for a simple dinner.

– Beth Thurston, PA-C

Farmers’ markets

We love all things healthy and local – which is why we’re such big fans of the many farmers’ markets scattered throughout our NoCo neighborhood. These homegrown hubs of fresh, flavorful goodness provide high-quality produce, fruits, and specialty products that are more delicious and nutritious (plus, surprisingly affordable) when compared to non-local options. And as an added bonus, they help support our home community and sustain a better planet. Wins all around!

Visit these farmers’ markets near you to stock up on farm-fresh goodies:

Fort Collins Farmers’ Market
Drake Road Farmers’ Market
Windsor Farmers’ Market
Loveland Fairground Park Farmers’ Market

To eat healthy, I make sure to always have fresh fruit around – at my home and in my lunchbox or office. They make good snacks and help curb my sweet tooth so I don’t always reach for the candy or chocolate jar.

– Amy Stump, PHARMD

Your own personal garden

When it comes to fresh, “farm-to-table” food, it doesn’t get much better than produce from your own personal garden. And you don’t have to be a seasoned green thumb to experience the benefits of gardening. Any avid gardener will tell you that starting small can yield big results. Just visit your local garden center, and get expert advice on where to start. Whether you’re ambitiously planning your own private greenhouse or planting a small container garden, you’ll harvest the rewards of healthy, delicious food in the long run.

Frequent these local garden centers to plant your own produce:

Loveland Garden Center & Nursery
Bath, Inc.
Fort Collins Nursery
Fossil Creek Nursery, Inc. 
Gulley Greenhouse & Garden Center

Plan in advance for at least three meals in a week. Include one that is your favorite ‘quick food’ dinner, and have all those supplies on hand. Be flexible, and if you come home from work and are too tired or short on time, use the quick meal plan to relieve the stress of cooking and still have a healthy meal.

Michele Cain, PA-C

CSAs and community gardens

Extremely fresh food, better prices, support for local farms, and good eats. These are all benefits of the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and community garden experience. With the surging interest in hyperlocal food options, CSAs and community gardens are becoming an attractive alternative for people in urban and suburban areas. How does it work? Join the CSA, pay your share to the farmer before the growing season, and receive fresh produce on a regular schedule come harvest time. (Some CSAs even include eggs, meat, dairy, or other farm products.) You can also get involved in a community garden to make fresh, healthy foods accessible to people from all walks of life.

Check out these NoCo CSA and community garden options:

Native Hill Farm
Jodar Farms
Happy Heart Farm
The Growing Project Community Gardens
Ole Dern Farm & CSA
Blue Barrel Farm
Garden Sweet
Green Dog Farm
Woolly Goat Farm

Buy in bulk when possible to stock up on healthy seasonal foods. Freeze produce, fish, and of course mass quantities of dark chocolate.

Michael Beck-Gifford, CPNP, FNP

Local grocery stores

As the demand for responsibly sourced food heightens, it’s becoming easier than ever to find produce and goods at the peak of freshness, right in your local grocery store. From the Colorado Proud program (which guarantees products that are raised or processed in our home state) to neighborhood food co-ops, you don’t have to look far for local, wholesome foods. Our own NoCo grocers provide plenty of options for a range of products, preferences, and budgets.

Shop these nearby stores for nutritious, local foods:

King Soopers – look for the Colorado Proud logo and “I’m Local” tags
Sprouts
Whole Foods
Esh’s Discount Groceries
Fort Collins Food Co-op

My wife is an excellent cook. Our leftovers go a long way during the week, and that saves me $5 to $10 each day on food at work, or roughly $200 per month!

Rick Morgan, MD

Eating healthy can sometimes seem like a challenge in the busy rhythm of everyday life, but it pays huge dividends for health and happiness over time. And thanks to the many local food sources our Northern Colorado community has to offer, you can enjoy fresh, nutritious, and delicious foods – not just during the harvest months of summer, but all year long.

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