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September 25, 2020

The weather is starting to turn into fall here in Ohio and after enjoying a bountiful summer garden (sometimes a little too bountiful), I’m starting to harvest the last of the veggies from my garden. It’s always a little bit sad to take a last trip out and grab the remaining few tomatoes and peppers on the vine. I’ll miss the fresh-off-the-vine taste.

Like many, I delved into growing my own a little more than usual this year after COVID hit. I had more time to explore new heirloom tomatoes, hybrid hot peppers and teeny-tiny eggplants I had never heard of before. And I’m not ready to go back to the same old boring options I’ve had in the past.

In the upcoming winter months, I’ll be looking at ways to continue experimenting with local produce, even if it doesn’t come straight from my own backyard. A big driver in my search is the great recipes I’ve found on social media like Pinterest and Instagram. By looking at what folks around me are finding and cooking, I’ve discovered new recipes as well as different spots to buy locally grown greenhouse produce.

Recipes ideas are a great way to market your offerings and inspire potential customers to pull the trigger and try your produce. Even my local chain grocery store has started sending out newsletters with specials and recipe ideas to inspire shoppers to try something new.

And it works. A beautiful photo of a delicious dish is a sure-fire way to get me thinking about putting in an order. Plus, it gets people excited about adding more veggies into their diets.

For example, over the Labor Day weekend, I saw so many more vegetable-based dishes than I have in previous years when it had just been burgers, chicken, hot dogs and other things I grew up eating off the grill. I’ve got to say a colorful vegetable kabob is a lot better looking than a half-burned hamburger.

I’ll be interested to see if that same trend carries over into the holidays, when food takes over social media again and we all start scrolling through to find ideas for our next big celebration.

Kate Spirgen, Editor | kspirgen@gie.net | 216-393-0277