The advantage of eating vine-ripened fruit and vegetables is that they are the most nutritious. The vast majority of nutrients enter the fruits and vegetables as they ripen in the soil or on the vine/tree.

Fruit and vegetable nutrition is the best source of the thousands of plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that help to keep our bodies healthy and fight free-radical damage that occurs from our daily activities. So, whenever we hear “buy local” it’s probably a good idea for produce whenever possible. This gives us the advantage of getting the fruits and vegetables that have ripened naturally.

June was the beginning for the Farmer’s Markets and local farm stands and they will soon be full of beautiful, healthy choices:

Naperville Farmer’s Market Association (naperville.il.us)

• 95th St. Library, 3015 Cedar Glade Rd. – Thursdays, 3-7PM, through September 27

• Fifth Avenue Station Parking Lot
 – Saturdays, 7AM-noon, through September 28

Farmers Market at St. John’s (stjohns-episcopal.com)

• St. John’s Episcopal Church, 750 Aurora Avenue – Wednesdays, 3-7PM, through September 26 (closed July 4)

Aurora’s Farmers Market (aurora-il.org)

• Aurora Transportation Center, 233 N. Broadway, Aurora, IL 60505
 – Saturdays, 8AM-noon, through October 20

Mayneland Farm (maynelandfarm.com)

• 27W265 Bauer Road, Naperville (Cash only)

Open now Tuesday and Thursday 2-6PM and Saturday 10AM-3PM.

Mid July through close in October: Monday-Friday 10AM-6:30PM, Saturday 9:30AM-5PM, Sunday 9:30AM-5PM.

For the more adventurous among us, our own planting season is upon us. We can grow many vegetable choices in containers, and even though it is July, local nurseries have good-sized plants, and on sale now. Perhaps start your container garden this year with herbs, which produce what we need very quickly.

Whichever way we decide to get our “local” produce, getting that fresh produce onto our tables packs the nutritional punch we need.