In July many areas of the Central Sierra can expect to see tomatoes beginning to appear in local markets or ripening in gardens. This much-awaited crop is one of the best foods to enjoy in season, when its flavor is truly at its peak. Tomatoes need warm weather and plenty of time to ripen fruit, but cherry tomatoes are often one of the earliest types of tomatoes to begin ripening. Look for tomatoes in all different sizes and colors this summer to enjoy a range of different textures, tastes, and nutrients. A good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, tomatoes also provide dietary fiber and other trace nutrients. Red tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that is better absorbed by our bodies when tomatoes are cooked. Whether eaten fresh or cooked into dishes, tomatoes pair well with many different herbs, including basil, cilantro and thyme, and with most other foods that grow alongside tomatoes in the garden. See below for fresh tomato recipe ideas to try this July, or learn more about tomatoes and view their nutrition facts at Harvest of the Month.
Looking for motivation to stay active this summer? The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults engage in moderate physical activity for at least 2 1/2 hours each week - that's about 1/2 hour a day on most days. When it's hot outside, going for a brisk walk during the cool early morning or evening hours is a good way to meet this goal. See more tips below for creating an active lifestyle.
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June brings an abundance of early stone fruits to California markets, and plums are one of the most widely available and diverse types of stone fruits available. Plums come in many different colors, from purple to yellow to green, and tend to have tart skins and sweet flesh. As they ripen, plums become softer and sweeter, so you can choose to eat them when they're tart and crunchy, or when they're sweet and tender. A good source of Vitamin C, plums also provide some Vitamin A and dietary fiber. Plums are delicious when eaten plain, but because of their sweet-tart flavor they also go well in a number of different recipes. When cooked or baked, plums' naturally tart flavor becomes more pronounced, so take into account how much sweetener a cooked plum recipe may require. See below for recipe ideas, or learn more about plums and view their nutrition facts at the USDA's Seasonal Produce Guide.