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Grantee Blog 2020

Color my Winter

So, 2020 is gone and 2021 is here now!

That is exactly 365 days of  new experiences, new knowledge, new friends and hope. We hope that the vaccination against COVID-19 will be a success and hope that effective medication to fight the virus will be found. We wish the best for all of us!

In New Jersey, along with New Year, comes the winter. Time between January and April is usually associated with low to  freezing temperatures, snowfalls, late sunrises and early sunsets, and sometimes winter blues. It is the time for our gardens and farms to rest and gain strength for spring, and it is time for farmers to get ready for new growing season. It may be easily assumed that because of that, the access to fresh produce is very limited, but this assumption is deceiving!

Thanks to constantly evolving technology, efficient transport systems and inventiveness of produce growers, fresh produce, whether grown locally or grown somewhere else in our country, is easily accessible at stores and at indoor farmers markets. Vendors offer wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Full range of colors, shapes and flavors. If you don’t know what is in season now, you can easily check online to find what kind of locally grown produce is available at any time of the year. To see how easy it is, just check this website:

https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/

Generally Farmers markets are typical summer landmarks, but there are certain farmers markets that stay open throughout the winter months, some even deliver to your doorstep. In Bergen County we can give you example of two such markets: Abma’s Farm Market in Wyckoff and Ramsey Farmers.

https://www.ramseyfarmersmarket.org/

https://www.abmasfarm.com/

Another misconception about fresh produce in winter may be that, it has to be expensive, because generally nothing grows in the winter time, in New Jersey. But certain types of produce are harvested at this time of the year and are as  fresh as those picked in other seasons. That can be either kale, horseradish or fresh greens.

Whenever you can’t find fresh produce, or can’t get to the farmers market, you can turn your steps to the freezer section of your local food market. There, you can find nice selection of high quality frozen fruits and vegetables with great nutritional value. Another option can be pickled and fermented vegetables, which are also a good substitute for fresh. Sauerkraut or cucumbers in brine, don’t have to serve only as a garnish, but can be a main ingredient of various dishes, like pickle soup or sauerkraut salad. They can be also a good source of vitamin C, so much desired in the wintertime, and they can deliver good load of healthy bacterial flora to support our digestion.

Wise shoppers should not only possess the knowledge about the product they are buying, but also should have a good business instinct. Simply said, there is no shame in being frugal.  To find the best deals on any produce items in your area you can go to websites such as https://www.mygrocerydeals.com/ .

At this time of the year, especially during the pandemic, we do spend a good amount of time inside our homes. Physical activity and social connectedness should be included in our daily agenda. To assist us with that, Kaplen JCC on the Palisades is introducing Senior IPad Lending Library. The Library delivers preloaded IPads with full technical support to seniors in need. Each week, 20 exercise classes, interactive social programs, games, musical concerts and hobby classes are offered to participants. For information call Sarah Feinmark at 201-569-7900 extx.404 or email sfeinmark@jccotp.org.

Spending more time indoors gives us also the opportunity to broaden our horizons and educate ourselves about nutrition and healthy eating habits. NJSN AP- Ed offers virtual programs that are not only very informative, engaging and easily accessible online, but what is important free of cost. Bergen County Division of Senior Services invites you to participate in the NJSNAP-Ed classes, please review the attached flyer with the class schedule and feel free to join.

SNAP-Ed_English Flyer_Bergen County Department of Senior Services_January-March 2021

SNAP-Ed_Spanish Flyer_Bergen County Department of Senior Services_January-March 2021

https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/

Major food retailers, like ShopRite and Stop & Shop, also offer virtual nutrition education and consultations with their nutritionists on staff.

https://stopandshop.com/pages/health-and-wellness

https://www.shoprite.com/welleveryday

Reading newsletters from reputable sources can deliver good amount of useful information on nutrition, health and wellbeing. As an example of such publication we will use NutritionAction.com . Click on the link below to learn tips on buying, ripening and eating fruit.

https://www.nutritionaction.com/daily/what-to-eat/tips-for-buying-ripening-and-eating-fruit/

Many newsletters offer also great recipes. Feel free to sample the beet salad with mustard vinaigrette. The salad’s colors of gold, red and green will make you think of warm days of spring, summer and fall, and will help your brain to pump more of dopamine and serotonin, the two happy hormones that will help you fight off the winter blues.

 

About the Grantee

County of Bergen, Division of Senior Services

As the lead agency for Bergen County's Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC), the Division helps older adults, individuals with disabilities over the age 18, and caregivers access the complex, long term care, community-based health and human services.