Falling into Seasonal Produce

Falling into Seasonal Produce

Fall.  Autumn.  The change of seasons is marked by changing leaves and Pumpkin Spice flavored…..everything?  This year, don’t let pumpkin spice flavored oreos be your only seasonal food experience.  There are many seasonal vegetables and fruits that can help welcome the feeling of the cooler temperatures into our homes. 

There are benefits to eating produce when it’s in season beyond helping to usher in a new season.  When we choose in season produce we get the maximum nutritional benefits of those foods.  When foods are picked at the peak of ripeness, they contain their peak content of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Some phytonutrients in foods decline when stored for long periods of time. Phytonutrient is just a fancy word for the naturally produced chemicals from plants that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.  Antioxidants prevent or delay cell damage. This means that they keep us healthy for longer and also looking vibrant.  They reduce inflammation which contributes to chronic illness. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant.  Many of us know that Vitamin C can also be important in reducing the length of a cold or other winter illnesses.  Vitamin C is jam packed into many of our Fall grown produce.  All plants contain phytonutrients.  This includes whole grains, nuts, beans and vegetables and fruit.  Examples of seasonal vegetables and fruits are below, but including a variety of plant foods daily is good for overall health and wellness.

Fruits and vegetables are less expensive when purchased in season.  It takes less time and money for them to get to the store and that savings is passed onto the consumer.  Eating seasonally is one of the best things you can do to reduce your grocery budget while bulking up your nutrition. 

When trying to eat healthier, the most valuable thing we can do is make sure that our food is delicious! Eating delicious food every day helps us to sustain our healthier habits.  Eating produce in season is a way to ensure that your fruits and veggies taste their very best.  Lastly, eating in season also provides the opportunity to support local producers.  Supporting local farmers allows for more sustainable food production and also reduces fossil fuels used to transport items from across the world.  Below are some options for including seasonal produce that are usually available locally.  Enjoy the season this year by trying something new or by having a familiar food prepared in a way that is new to you.

Acorn Squash

One serving of Acorn Squash is an excellent source of Vitamin C.  The easiest way to prepare all your winter squash is to halve, scoop out seeds and then bake in the oven until soft.  The tender flesh can be scooped out of the shell and used as a side dish as is.  The shape of the acorn squash also provides the perfect bowl shape for stuffing with goodies such as a combo of Italian sausage and wild rice.  Winter squash is also wonderful for roasting.  Acorn squash can be sliced in strips and roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and seasonings to taste.  

Butternut Squash

Another delicious and slightly sweet winter squash, one cup has more than 100% of the daily value of Vitamin A along with being another excellent source of Vitamin C.  After baking, butternut squash makes a delicious, creamy soup.  It’s also wonderful roasted or topped with cheese and whole wheat breadcrumbs in a casserole.

Sweet Potatoes

Swapping a baked potato for a baked sweet potato is an easy way to increase your Vitamin A and Vitamin C intake for the day.  If you’re looking for more ways to include this versatile vegetable into every day eating, try slicing them thin and using as “toast” substitute or dicing and making a sweet potato hash. 

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts often get a bad reputation for being a least favorite food.  However, when not over-cooked, most people are able to change their opinion of this notorious vegetable.  If you’ve tried Brussels Sprouts before and found them mushy, try a dry heat for cooking.  Slice in halves and roast with olive oil.  You can also try parboiling (boiling for 1-2 minutes and then immersing in cold water to stop the cooking process) and then sautéing.  They can also be steamed, but careful not to overcook. Nuts are a perfect addition to Brussels Sprout.  Try toasted walnuts or almonds on top.


Parsnips look like a white (possibly more boring) carrot and are often overlooked.  Despite their similar shape, they are not from the same family of vegetables.  Parsnips have a lightly sweet flavor but with more of a spiced taste than their orange counterpart. When paired with carrots in a rich beef stew they can add depth of flavor.  They are also delicious when roasted with other fall/winter vegetables. 

Cool weather Greens (Kale, Chard, Spinach, etc)

Many dark greens such as kale and spinach get an improved, sweeter flavor when exposed to frost.  This makes them a perfect fall, winter and early spring vegetable.  We all have heard of the benefits of brightly colored greens and now is a perfect time to add them to the rotation.  A more hearty, winter salad can be assembled by starting with kale and adding toasted walnuts, goat cheese, dried cranberries, topped with sliced steak.  Add Kale or Spinach to smoothies or toss greens into soups for a nutrition boost.


Pears are an excellent source of fiber with a good mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Getting enough of both fiber types can help regulate blood sugar, increase satiety, improve bowel regularity and keep Cholesterol in a healthy range.  Pears make for a perfect snack on their own anytime but also can be added to smoothies, as a topping for oatmeal or as a salad topping.   And don’t forget pear desserts such as crisps or carmelized pears as a topping for ice cream.


It would not be the Fall season without trips to the pumpkin patch and apple picking.  The Northwest is home to many apple varieties.  Apple cider simmering on the stove immediately makes the home feel like Autumn.   This year, try apple chips baked in the oven at a low temperature until they dry and crisp.


Cranberries are always featured on the Thanksgiving table but not given much thought the rest of the year.  Washington and Oregon are two of only about five states that grown cranberries in the U.S.  Fresh cranberries can be added to baked goods and in crisps.  Dried cranberries are wonderful in fall-themed salads and as a topper for oatmeal.  They can also be tossed into savory dishes such as stuffed squash to add a hint of sweetness. Cranberries are a phytonutrient rich berry in the same family as blueberries.  Their bright red color signals hidden nutrition benefits. 

Aren’t we glad to live in a world with fall and all the bountiful produce that it delivers to our tables?

by Heather Blazier, RD, CDE

Why get a flu shot?

CHAS Health recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu shot to lower the risk of getting the flu and limit flu exposure to others.

Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May. People of all ages can catch the flu, and now more than ever, no one wants to expose others to illness-causing germs.

Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics

This year CHAS Health will be hosting Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics on Saturdays in the months of October and November for you and your kids. These Drive-up clinics are available for patients and non-patients of CHAS Health. It is as easy as driving to the location for that Saturday and receive your flu shot. All from the comfort of your car! Dates and locations are as follows:

CHAS Health Drive-up Flu Clinics (Washington)

October 10thValley Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 10thMaple Street Clinic2:00pm – 5:00pm
October 17thNorth Central Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 17thDenny Murphy Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 24thNorth County Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 24thMarket Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 31stValley Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 31stPerry Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 7thSouthgate Clinic9:00am – 12:00pm
November 7thMarket Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 7thCheney Health Center2:00pm – 5:00pm
November 14thMaple Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 14thValley Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 21stMaple Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 21stDenny Murphy Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm

CHAS Health Drive-up Flu Clinics (Idaho)

October 17thLatah Community Health9:00am – 1:00pm
October 17thLewis & Clark Health Center2:00pm – 5:00pm

If you are unable to make one of our Saturday Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics you can stop by at your medical primary care clinic beginning October 1st. Simply drive up and follow the directions.

COVID-19 & Influenza

Influenza kills and hospitalizes thousands of adults and children every year. COVID-19 can also be deadly and there is no vaccine available at this time. Both viruses are respiratory pathogens. It is possible to be infected with both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, a situation to be avoided for everyone, not just the elderly or those with chronic diseases. If you have questions about whether or not you or your child should stay home due to any illness, please discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Telling the Difference Between a Cold & the Flu

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a cold and the flu, but there are some symptom differences:


Often the flu includes a fever while a cold does not. A fever is the body’s way of fighting infection. Fever is the most common reason adults stay home from work and why most parents keep their children home from school. The definition of a fever is a temperature of 100.4 or higher, however some schools and daycare centers have their own standards. The general rule of thumb is to stay away from work or school until the fever is gone and the ill person’s temperature has returned to 98.6 degrees.

Upper Respiratory

Adults and children may contract several different cold viruses each winter. Typical cold symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat and cough. Most people with these symptoms can participate in school without restrictions. Coughs may linger for several weeks after the other symptoms have resolved. It is important to remember the importance of coughing or sneezing into an elbow or a tissue, and to practice proper hand washing techniques to limit the spread of germs.

The flu is similar to a cold, but is accompanied by high fevers and body aches. It can also include extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms that diminish the body’s ability to function normally. If an adult or child has the flu, they should stay home until their symptoms have disappeared.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

When the flu brings vomiting and diarrhea, both adults and children should stay home until these symptoms have resolved. Adults and older children with only mild diarrhea (who are able to use the toilet and wash their hands on their own), may go to work and school if they don’t have other symptoms.

Illnesses are a normal part of life for both adults and children, but they are no fun to experience. We can’t keep ourselves or our children home for every sniffle and sneeze, yet we want to minimize the spread of germs to others. That’s why getting an annual flu shot is so very important.

For more information about the 2020-2021 flu season, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Are you ready to Vote?

While it may seem odd that a health center is reaching out to you to make sure you are registered to vote and participate in this year’s election, it actually makes perfect sense. On the ballot every year, there are initiatives and positions that directly impact our communities and patients. Policymakers at all levels of government greatly impact health care funding and delivery in our communities. 

Many initiatives and important decisions at local, state, and federal levels are critical to providing access and support to our patients. A recent example is the CARES Act at the Federal level, which helped increase access to our patients in these unprecedented times.

Your voice really does count when helping to decide policies and who will be making those decisions, and your vote matters!

If you aren’t registered to vote, it’s a quick and easy process and can be done online at https://vote.gov

If you are registered to vote, research candidates, proposed measures and initiatives. Vote at every opportunity and vote as soon as you are able to.

Voter resources:

Washington: https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/

Idaho: https://idahovotes.gov

Take the Census TODAY!

Make sure you fill out your Census Form! https://2020census.gov

A census aims to count the entire population of a country, and at the location where each person usually lives.

The census asks questions of people in homes and group living situations, including how many people live or stay in each home, and the sex, age and race of each person. The goal is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.

The United States census is so much more than just a head count. It is a snapshot of America that determines how congressional seats are apportioned, how state and federal dollars are distributed, where businesses choose to ship products and where they build new stores. To do all that properly, the count needs to be accurate.

An undercount of the population would have a big impact. The data helps to determine the congressional representatives each state is apportioned and their representation in state legislatures and local government bodies. It would shape how billions of dollars a year are allocated, including funds for schools and hospitals. And undercount would undermine the integrity of a wide variety of economic data and other statistics that businesses, researchers and policymakers depend on to make decisions, including the numbers that underpin the forecasts for Social Security beneficiaries.

Federal and State Spend

The federal government bases a large amount of its spending decisions on census data. Researchers concluded last year that in the 2015 fiscal year, 132 government programs used information from the census to determine how to allocate more than $675 billion, much of it for programs that serve lower-income families, including Head Start, Medicare, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Pell grants for college and reduced-price school lunch programs. Highway spending is also apportioned according to census data.

Planning for various health and wellness programs

Low response rates from any one demographic group would undermine the validity of various population-wide statistics and program planning.

Scientists use census data to understand the distribution of diseases and health concerns such as cancer and obesity across the United States population, including drilling down to race and ethnicity to identify health patterns across demographics. Public health officials then use the data to target their interventions in at-risk communities. Inaccurate census data could lead public health officials to invest in solving a problem that does not exist — or worse, to overlook one that does.

Respond to the census now: https://2020census.gov

Census Facts vs. Fiction: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/08/2020-census-visiting-homes-and-sending-emails

Have you heard of Pandemic EBT? | Food Assistance Funds for Children

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) is a one-time food benefit for children who qualified for free or reduced-price school meals when schools were closed last spring. P-EBT provides funds (up to $399 per eligible child) to help low-income families buy groceries. It works like a debit card and can be used at any store or farmers markets that accept food stamps (SNAP). Children are eligible for P-EBT regardless of citizenship or immigration status; it is not a public charge for a child or their family if they use P-EBT.

If an eligible family does not already receive food stamps (SNAP), they must complete a simple application to receive P-EBT. Apply via DSHS online (www.WashingtonConnection.org) or by phone (877-501-2233, 8am – 5pm Monday-Friday). P-EBT applications must be completed by Friday, Sept. 11 by 5pm.

Almost 219,000 eligible Washington children have not yet applied for P-EBT — please help families learn about and apply for this critical food benefit before Sept. 11!

Spread the word to your school districts, local community-based organizations, faith communities, mutual aid organizations, and more so our communities can help make sure low income families get help to feed their kids.

Click the link below to learn more about how the program works and who is eligible (note: application deadline has been extended to Sept. 11). OSPI also has a P-EBT Communications Toolkit with FAQs and outreach materials in 12 languages to include in all Back to School communications with families. https://medium.com/@waOSPI/what-is-pandemic-ebt-a7a086fcaf94

National Health Center Week | Stakeholder Appreciation Day

Policymakers at all levels of government greatly impact health care funding and delivery in our communities. At CHAS we want to share our appreciation to our federal delegation, Senators Cantwell and Murray, and Representative McMorris-Rodgers from Washington, and Senators Crapo and Risch, and Representative Fulcher from Idaho. With the passing of the CARES Act, the Community Health Center Program was extended through November which has been critical to providing access to our patients in these unprecedented times due to the pandemic.

The House Capital Budget Committee has a work session regarding Dental Capacity Grants, February 27, 2020.

When data showed that adult dental Medicaid utilization rate was very low across Washington, CHAS worked closely with our State Legislators and the Washington Association for Community Health to fund dental capacity grants. With legislative support, CHAS was able to garner funding to help build East Mission Dental and Family Dental which increased thousands of additional dental visits for low-income patients. Additionally, working with past and current Spokane City Council Members and Mayors and state legislators, local and state funding was secured to help build the East Central Dental Clinic set to open in October.

These are just a few examples of why we are very grateful to have the support of elected officials at all levels of government and from all sides of the political spectrum. Without their continued help, CHAS would simply not be able to continue to improve the overall health of the communities we serve. During National Health Center Week we wanted to take a moment to say thank you to our elected officials and their hardworking staff for their partnership and efforts!

History of Health Centers | NHCW 2020

Health Centers began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society Program in 1966 and were first known as ‘neighborhood’ health centers. The program was developed to provide access to affordable, high-quality preventive and primary care in medically underserved communities and for underserved populations, including millions of individuals without health insurance. The Health Center program was permanently authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law March 2010.

Health Centers have a proud history of bi-partisan support. President George W. Bush championed the ‘Presidential Five-Year Initiative to Expand Health Centers’ (2002-2006), effectively doubling the size of the program. Under President Barack Obama’s Administration, the Health Center program continued to experience unprecedented growth. Health Centers were the only health care providers to receive direct funding in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which granted $2 billion to construct and expand Health Centers. The next year, the ACA was signed into law mandating $11 billion in new Health Center funding over five years (2011-2015). In April 2015, Congress passed legislation to continue Health Center funding for an additional two-years, reflective at the amount of additional annual funding received through the ACA.

We are proud of our roots and so thankful to every one of our patients we have the privilege to serve.

Healthcare for the Homeless Day | NHCW 2020

Today is Healthcare for the Homeless Day. We wanted to take this opportunity to honor our unhoused patients and the staff who directly serve them. CHAS Health began as a two-exam room clinic serving Spokane’s homeless population in 1994. Since then, the organization has grown to operating sites throughout Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. CHAS’s mission is to improve the overall health of the communities we serve by expanding access to quality health and wellness services. Our downtown location that serves many of our homeless patients and our homeless outreach team.

Those experiencing homelessness have higher rates of chronic disease and live on average 12 years less than the general US population. However, CHAS Health and community health centers around the nation are on the frontlines providing increased access to care for this vulnerable population.

Our Outreach Team (Ilze and Sabrina) is focused on connecting to those without a home to check on their wellbeing, providing much-needed support, supplies, and access to the care they may need.  Learn more about this important role:

Additionally, every winter solstice CHAS hosts a Homeless Memorial, a ceremony where we gather together community leaders, clients, and staff to honor our unhoused patients who passed away the previous year.

National Health Center Week | August 9 – 15, 2020

National Health Center Week, August 9th-15th, is an annual celebration aimed at raising awareness about the mission and contributions of community health centers, like CHAS Health, over the past half century. This year’s theme is “Community Health Centers: Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities Today and in the Future.” In 2019, 84% of CHAS Health’s patients identified as low income and we served nearly 15,000 patients experiencing homelessness. Community health centers were created specifically to address health disparities and we are proud to continue to meet this mission. 

While it can be challenging to find cause for celebration during these uncertain times – we feel now more than ever it is important to highlight the great work that CHAS Health and Health Centers across the nation are doing. 

In Washington State alone, our community health centers have adjusted operations to meet the increased demand for healthcare from uninsured patients throughout our communities. These changes include expanded telehealth access, opening of COVID testing sites, and increased public education activities. 

These interventions have served as a shock absorber to help our local hospitals avoid overcrowding. While there is still more to do, we hope this week will serve as an opportunity for us to share some of our great work. 

Help us fight Coronavirus

Stuck at home with just your savage sewing skills and want to do your part?

Make face masks from home and help keep our staff safer.


Just follow the instructions contained in this how-to video:

Or this video from Deaconess Hospital

Or any other video you fancy!

What you will need


  • CHAS can provide the fabric in the form of Chas Health T-shirts. Contact clbooey@chas.org to pick up shirts. 

Elastic cord. 

  • This can be sourced from Joann Fabric, and potentially other craft stores. 
    • Don’t have random elastic cord lying around? Get creative and try cutting up hair ties, or anything else that can comfortably be worn around the ear and has a little give to it!


If you have made a mask and don’t have any particular clinic in mind, please drop them off at the closest site to you and they can be redistributed as needed. 

Just because you’re not on the front lines doesn’t mean you can’t support our community


These masks are for use by staff not involved in direct patient care such as front desk and pharmacy. If you are involved in direct patient care, you will use a surgical or other paper, mask. We will also be able to distribute them amongst our communities and patients. 

Other resource:


Casey Linane-Booey, Risk Manager