Summer is the perfect time to buy delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables. Instead of traveling to a farmers market or farm stand to pick up your local produce, why not stop by your neighborhood grocery store to complete all of your shopping in just one trip?

According to the Food Marketing Institute’s U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends report, the top reasons for purchasing locally grown foods include freshness (82 percent), supporting the local economy (75 percent) and taste (58 percent). Buying locally grown fruits and vegetables helps the local economy of farmers and ranchers who live in your community and brings customers the very freshest of produce. Plus, the taste just can’t be beat!

Local produce packs a nutritious punch, is superior in quality and tastes so fresh that you’ll think it was grown in your own garden.

Local, seasonal fruits and vegetables are typically more budget-friendly because they are harvested during their peak season for you to enjoy. Popular locally grown summer produce includes sweet corn, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, muskmelon, zucchini and yellow squash, cabbage, cucumbers and green beans, as well as acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash.

Don’t hesitate! Check out your neighborhood grocer’s selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables and help support the mission to be earth-friendly and build a strong relationship with your community farmers and ranchers.

Slow cooker quinoa-summer squash casserole

Serves: 10 Serving Size: 3/4 cup

All You Need:

12 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and chopped 1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped 1 poblano or bell pepper, chopped 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion 1 tablespoon lime juice 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup quinoa 1 cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese, divided 2 pounds small yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

All You Do:

1. Combine tomatillos, tomatoes, pepper, onion, lime juice and salt in a medium bowl.

2. Coat a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer quinoa, 1/3 cup cheese and all the squash in the slow cooker. Top with another 1/3 cup cheese. Spread the tomatillo mixture on top, but don't stir the ingredients together. Refrigerate the remaining cheese to use for the topping.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours. Serve sprinkled with oregano and the remaining 1/3 cup cheese.

Nutrition Facts (per 3/4 cup): 111 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono);3 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 6 g total sugars; 5 g protein; 3 g fiber; 286 mg sodium; 526 mg potassium

Adapted From: Eating Well

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at