5 Great Reasons to Eat in Season
When you eat what is currently growing, you are buying what is freshly harvested. If you've ever eaten a store bought tomato in the wintertime, you'll probably remember that it was not so savory. It wasn't fresh, because it was picked at an unripe green stage in order to be shipped hundreds of miles to your grocery store. Buy what is current and it will be fresher and have better flavor. This also makes cooking easier. When your ingredients are fresh, you don't have to be an accomplished chef to create delicious meals. You don't need a ton of seasonings or fancy ingredients. Fresh food is THE best ingredient you can get your hands on, making cooking more rewarding and fun.2. Support Local Economy
Same answer, really. Food grown locally can be harvested at a more ripe stage because it doesn't have to travel far to be sold. Support local farms near you by eating what is in season. Go to your local farmer's market, join a CSA, or just buy local at your grocery store. Most grocery stores now have local sections to shop from.
3. It's Cheaper
Buy what's in season and it not only benefits local farms, but it will be cheaper for you. Grocery stores often have sales on what's ripe, so start to shop smarter and take advantage of those sales. Or better yet, skip the grocery store and head to the local farmer's market. An argument I hear a lot is that eating healthy is expensive. Admittedly, many times that is the case. But eating healthy does not have to be expensive. Eating seasonally is one way to eat healthy with a budget in mind.
Because you buy fresher, locally grown food that is in season, it's more likely to be higher in nutritional value. The reason? Same as the other answers, really. That fruit or vegetable was harvested at a riper stage and was allowed to develop to the most optimal stage for eating. For most produce, if you compare a ripe version of it to an unripe version, even the color hasn't developed. You've heard the phrase "eat the rainbow," right? [If you read my blog, you have! Here's my post on this strategy for healthy eating.] Produce that is harvested closer to the time it should be eaten has been given the chance to fully develop and ripen. Look at this photo of blackberries from my yard. Which ones would you rather eat? The sour red ones picked too early and left to "ripen" in a package, or the deep hued ones allowed to ripen in the sun?
Shopping seasonally generally means supporting local farmers. There is less need to transport food hundreds or thousands of miles. Think of all of the transportation and fuel that is needed to get a tomato to you in the wintertime. If you want to do better by the Earth, then lower your carbon footprint by buying something grown just down the road from you.Lastly, here is a gift I'm passing along to help you shop for seasonal produce: the Seasonal Food Guide. I recently found this online resource that gives you a current list of what is in season for YOUR area of the United States. Genius.
If you want to eat healthy, it's much more appealing when it tastes great. Let's return to the tomato. Ever had a juicy red summertime vine-ripened tomato? Mmmm. Ever had a hard pink grainy store bought tomato in the wintertime? I rest my case. Eating seasonally is tastier, healthier, cheaper, better for your local economy and better for the Earth.
Love & Light.