Many people love to enjoy their favorite fruits and vegetables all year long, but rarely know when they are in season. Nowadays, we are lucky enough that foods can be transported long distances, all around the world, so we can enjoy our avocado toast every morning or fresh berries in our smoothies. However, it is beneficial for our health, and for the environment to be aware of when the best time to eat which foods are and when we can purchase them from our local growers, soon after they are harvested. “Seasonal fruits and vegetables produced on local farms are often fresher, as they do not require long distances for transport. Also, unlike out-of-season produce which is harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store, crops picked at their peak of ripeness are also better tasting and full of flavor.” Studies have also shown that fruits and vegetables contain higher levels of nutrients when they are given adequate time to ripen naturally on their parent plant.
Why is eating local food important?
The main reason is that it’s good for the environment. When we buy and eat locally, the “food doesn’t have to travel as far to arrive on your plate, so it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to improving our carbon footprint.” It also encourages simultaneously sustainable agriculture. If we track most of our food back to its origin, it would cause us to re-think our food transportation practices altogether. In addition to environmental benefits, since local food is given more time to ripen, it may have higher nutrient value as well. Eating in-season foods all year long may not be as convenient as the alternative practice, but the environmental and health benefits really will pay off.
Why you should be eating with the seasons
1. Tastes Better
In-season produce has been known to be fresher, sweeter, and riper. A lot of the time, the food at the farmers’ market comes directly from that specific farmer and was picked within the week! And the less time the produce takes to travel to you, the fresher it will be and the better it will taste.
2. Better For The Environment
In order to transport out-of-season food all across the world, high amounts of fossil fuels are required. By supporting local farmers and choosing to eat in-season, you as a consumer are helping to reduce the demand for out-of-season produce. This also means fewer fossil fuels related to transportation and refrigeration.
3. Reduced Pesticide Consumption
When food is being transported for days to eventually get to your plate, chemical pesticides and preservatives are needed in order to get the food staying fresh and ward off insects. Although they do make our foods look plump and shiny in the grocery store, we do not want them to be part of our diets. When you choose to buy and eat locally instead, you can reduce the amount of chemicals you are consuming and help reduce the fossil fuels that emitted into our atmosphere.
4. Increased Nutrients
In addition to the environmental benefits, eating in-season foods will help saturate your diet with important vitamins and minerals that your body craves. When fruits and vegetables are harvested at their peak, it has more time to fully ripen, resulting in a more rich flavor, vibrant and packed with nutrients.
When produce is grown locally, farmers are able to harvest an abundance of crops in season. Not only will the food taste better, but it won’t have to travel thousands of miles to get to you, therefore reducing the cost for the consumer.
- Take Back the Land: The Importance of Consuming Local Food
- The Ultimate Guide to Spring Seasonal Produce
- 10 Reasons Buying Local is Great for You and the Planet
- 10 Fruits and Vegetables to Look for in Early Spring Farmers’ Markets
- 6 Ways to Use Summer Produce While It’s Still in Season
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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