Happy lazy days of summer! This year, BC has seen its fair share of heat and haze but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the best things the season has to offer – lake dips, camping trips, long nights and endless options of delicious, fresh fruit. I’m pretty sure my eyes turn into cartoon hearts when I see baskets full of ripe blueberries, cherries, nectarines and peaches.
While my family makes our yearly stop in Keremeos, BC to stock up on fruit, known for the main drag of produce vendors lined up as far as the eye can see, amazing produce is available all summer long at every farmer’s market - which there are over 145 of in BC. The BC Farmers Market Trail website helps you find the closest market to you and even shows you what produce is in season that month in your region.
My Farmer's Market haul from late May
Farmer’s markets are wonderful for many reasons beyond the amazing food you can find there. They offer space for community connection and provide opportunities for farmers to bond with their customers. The pandemic helped elevate the importance of buying local and this especially applies to the food we eat. As an added bonus to these perks, you can often buy items without any plastic packaging. While rules may vary due to COVID-19 precautions, many vendors will allow you to bring your own bags for fruit and veggies and containers for things like berries and baking.
As an homage to my love for farmer’s markets and zero waste snacks, here are some ideas for kid (and adult) friendly treats to make this summer.
- Fresh fruit
Ok – this one is a bit of a cop-out. It’s probably the simplest snack in the book. But as I already said, I’m a HUGE fresh fruit fan. This is always a crowd-pleaser for little ones and things like blueberries and raspberries don’t require any more prep than a quick wash.
- Vegetables & hummus
In August, carrots, celery, peas, and peppers are all in season in Southwest BC. That sounds to me like my perfect veggie plate to eat with a big side of garlic hummus. Hummus is one of the easiest dips to make from scratch and can usually be done with no plastic involved! The zero waste chef has an amazing recipe that only calls for 6 ingredients.
Granola is a favourite because it is so versatile. On its own, it’s a great crunchy treat but it can also be mixed with berries and milk or sprinkled on top of yogurt. I have found fantastic pre-made granola in jars at my local farmer’s market but it’s easy to make homemade as well. Here is a recipe from Kathryn of Going Zero Waste that includes dried blueberries!
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
As September arrives, pumpkins will start to crop up in the farmer’s market stalls. While of course delicious on their own roasted, or turned into soup, their seeds don’t often get the same attention. They’re often just tossed in the compost but can be saved to make a sweet or savoury snack. By just separating them when you cut up a pumpkin and rinsing off as much flesh as you can, they are ready to be tossed with oil, salt and your spice of choosing – I’m partial to smoked paprika. They then only need to be roasted for 20 to 30 minutes and are ready to eat.
- Dried fruit
Dried fruit was always a staple in my Grandma’s panty. She had all the zero waste habits down pat without realizing it, like most of our elder generation who grew up without plastic packaging wrapped around everything they bought. She never left the house without a cleaned-out peanut butter jar full of dehydrated apples and pretzel sticks. Simple dehydrators are affordable and can often be found second-hand on Facebook marketplace. Apples, peaches, strawberries and more are as delicious dried as they are fresh and can be stored for snacking long after summer has gone.
- Homemade popsicles
I have arguably saved the best for last. Homemade popsicles are much healthier than the store-bought version and just as tasty. Popsicle moulds can usually be found in the kitchen appliance aisle of the grocery store and your local zero waste shop might even have a stainless-steel version. These can be made of your favourite mix of pureed fruit or as simple as just fruit juice.
(Bonus Tip) We all know that frozen fruit from the grocery store can be extortionately expensive. You can save money and tons of plastic packaging by buying fruit in bulk and freezing it yourself for use throughout the winter.
Our Tradle team wishes you a happy and safe summer! We hope to see you browsing the Farmer’s Market stalls alongside us. Get involved in more conversations on zero waste parenting in the Zero Waste Parenting Canada Facebook group.