With spring finally here that means farmers markets and your own gardens are back in season! While many of us prefer to eat fresh, seasonal produce, do you know that it also has a variety of benefits as well?
In-season fruits and vegetables that have had a chance to fully ripen before they’re picked have the most nutrients. Many these nutrients often correspond to our body’s seasonal needs such as Vitamin C packed citrus peaking in the winter during cold and flu season!
It’s More Nutrient Dense
Seasonal and local foods have to travel much shorter distances than non-local fruits and vegetables, which can have to go well over 1,000 miles to get to our local supermarkets. Produce that has been picked too early and travel long distances won’t not only lack some of the essential nutrients but their appearances can also be distorted which is why many grocers rely on waxes and other finishes to help enhance the colors.
Seasonal foods are often cheaper than out-of-season produce because they don’t require anywhere near as much effort to produce. If it’s the right time of year, food can be pretty much left to grow on its own, which is far less labor intensive and time-consuming than procuring food out of season. Almost anything that’s in season will be plentiful!
It Has More Flavor
Foods that have had the chance to fully, naturally ripen before they’ve been picked will taste how they’re supposed to. Have you ever compared the sweetness of a strawberry in December to one in June? Seasonal produce is full of the natural flavor intended, which makes for a more delightful meal.
Where To Buy Seasonal Produce
While you can always find seasonal produce at the grocery store, farmers markets and CSA’s are by far the best place to get local, quality produce for your family. Here are some links to help guide you!
- Check out this food chart to see what’s in season and when, and choose those foods when you’re shopping.
- Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group in your area. It’s a great way to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer, and make sure you’re getting the freshest stuff out there.
- Look into in-season recipes from sites like Cook Local, Harvest Eating, and Routes to Wellness.