By Deb Morris, PCFMA

Our health is of utmost concern right now. Fueling your body with healthy nutritious foods that improve your immune system and give you more energy and stamina will help you feel better and ward off illness.
Fresh produce will give you the fuel your body needs to work in your garden, handle your errands, work a full day at your job, and take care of the kids without wilting. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein will give your body the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and energy for all kinds of tasks throughout the day.

Boost your energy. Carbohydrates like whole grain pastas and breads, oats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and local honey will give you energy. Carbs are the body’s preferred source of fuel. They also raise serotonin levels, keeping your mood even. The body absorbs whole grains and beans slowly because they are full of healthy fiber, stabilizing blood sugar and energy levels and giving you sustainable energy.

Keep Well. Your immune system benefits from a variety of whole fresh foods like antioxidant-rich berries, dark leafy greens, garlic, onions, oranges, root vegetables, and beans. Yogurt helps your digestive tract and salmon has the much-touted omega-3 fatty acids.
It is also advisable to drink plenty of water. A body doesn’t work as well when it is dehydrated.
You’ll find all the ingredients you need to keep you healthy and energized throughout the day and through the year from nearby farms. Diaz Farms in Fowler, Ken’s top Notch out of Fresno and J&J Ramos Farms out of Hughson have sweet juicy citrus like oranges and mandarins to boost your immune system. Esquivel Farms from Watsonville and Halog Farms in Merced, J&M Farms in Gilroy and Tu Universo from Watsonville offer delicious leafy greens, Brussels sprouts and loads of root vegetables. Winters Fruit Tree brings a nice assortment of almonds, walnuts, and pistachios for protein and healthy fats. Olive oil comes from Atlas Peak in Napa.
These farmers bring the best they can grow and harvest their produce just before bringing it to market to ensure it has the highest nutrient content and best flavor. You can purchase local produce with different and unique varieties directly from these farms at area farmers markets. Check Online for a farmers’ market event nearest you at

Start the New Year with this healthy and tasty salad a recipe from

Celery & Orange Salad
2 – 3 orange varieties, peeled and sliced into rounds
3 full slices of red onion, 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 full celery stalk, plus all stalks with leaves from the celery center, sliced
Salt and pepper

Place the celery, oranges, onions and walnuts in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Dress with grapefruit juice and extra virgin olive oil, toss and serve.