We’ve all heard it before: eat the rainbow. And yes, including a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables into one’s diet is incredibly important. Yet in order to do so in the easiest, most nutritious way, this also requires eating along with the seasons. Whether you shop at your local farmers market or neighborhood grocery store, prioritizing seasonal produce is beneficial not only for your body and taste buds but also for your wallet, the environment and local communities. Stick to this one, simple principle and become your healthiest, happiest self all year long.
Embracing in-season foods means you’re consuming what’s been most recently harvested, resulting in fresher and more nutritionally developed produce. While you can find most everything year round these days, out-of-season produce has to travel across the globe to make it to your local market. In order to arrive fresh and in one piece, these foods are typically picked before they’re fully developed and thus contain fewer nutrients. Likewise, pesticides are often used to ensure this cargo makes it through its journey.
Better for Your Taste Buds
In addition to the additional health benefits of seasonal produce, fruits and vegetables that have been allowed to ripen on their own simply taste better! Just think of that mealy apple or colorless, pithy tomato we’ve inevitably all encountered at some point. Odds are they were picked prior to the peak of ripeness and chilled or heated in transit, therefore losing any flavor they might have once had. Check out the Seasonal Food Guide for a list of what fruits and vegetables are the freshest and best tasting in your particular area, all year long.
Easier on Your Wallet
The biggest contradiction about having access to most produce at all times is the fact that we likely pay extra for the worst tasting, out of season produce thanks to scarcity, time and travel. Save yourself from overpaying and enjoy the best tasting fruits and vegetables by stocking up on what’s available seasonally. Produce that’s in season is more abundant and thus more cost efficient regardless of where you shop. It’s truly a win-win on every level!
Friendly for the Environment & Local Community
When we as consumers reduce our reliance on commercially farmed produce that’s transported long distances, we also lessen the environmental impact these processes bring about. Reverting back to how nature intended us to eat has incredible benefits for our own health but also the health of our world. Likewise, when you embrace what’s in season, you’re supporting local farmers who maintain farmland in your community. These growers also can tell you exactly how and where the food was grown, allowing you the opportunity understand the practices they use. When you know more about your food and the community surrounding it, everyone benefits.