Most fruits and vegetables grown in modern times are available year round, decreasing the awareness of why we should choose them seasonally if possible. Here are a few reasons you should consider choosing local produce at it’s peak:
- Better flavor and higher nutrient content – by eating seasonally, there are more available vitamins, minerals and antioxidants because they don’t have to be picked early for longer transport. Many items found on the grocery store shelves have been grown in hot houses, pesticide laden farms and typically aren’t very close to where you live. Local produce (especially if it is organic!) is not stored for long periods of time, has less transport, and therefore less artificial means to keep produce alive and look vibrant. Wax coating, chemical ripening agents, and preservatives are a common practice large commercial farms use to keep your produce looking “pretty” as well as maintain the shelf life. “If you eat with the seasons rather than eating the same 15 things all year round, the variety will mean you end up with a greater range of nutrients in the body,” argues Maria Griffiths, spokesperson for the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. “You get a completely changeable diet that is so much more beneficial than sticking to the same things again and again.”
- Lower Cost – produce in season is not as “in demand”, allowing for costs to be lower and crops to be more abundant. It functions very much like the fuel industry, more supply equals less demand.
- May decrease allergies and food intolerance – these are less likely to occur because you are not eating the same thing day after day. For some unexplainable reason, the more you eat the same food on a regular basis, the higher the likelihood of developing some sort of intolerance. Most times, this comes in the form of difficulty digesting what they have eaten. Best to avoid by changing it up. Isn’t it awesome that we have a creator and planet that gives us something different to choose from year round!
- Supporting local farms –when you buy from your local farmers, you are not only eating delicious ripe fruits and veggies, but you are also helping to promote the economy in the area. This keep jobs alive for local farmers and helps feed their families while you are feeding yours.
- Cuts down on pollution – local transport = less time on the road = less fuel consumed = cleaner environment = a happier, healthier me and you.
- Prevents boredom – stepping outside your comfort zone and cooking with something new helps to bring out the creative, exploratory side in all of us. Who says you need to go skydiving for a good adventure! Pick up a seasonal veggie you’ve never tried on the way out of the produce market and you’re on the path to feeling like the next MacGyver.