Eating Seasonally and Local…….WHY?

Living where they grow the best peaches in the world, I had to have a picture of them. I can’t wait for our local farmer’s market to open…….first come the cherries!

Health experts and chefs both often say you should eat “seasonally,” or include foods in your diet that are grown at the same time of the year you eat them. For example, that means squash in the summer and fall, and artichokes in the spring. Eating seasonally is important, and carries benefits to your health, the planet, and your wallet. Here are some of them.

At first glance, eating seasonally may seem simple—you eat foods that are “in season,” or being grown and harvested at the time of the year when you buy and cook them. That’s true, but there’s more to it than just being a trendy food movement. There are real benefits to eating foods that are available at their peak right now.

Perhaps the biggest tangible benefit of eating seasonally is that you’ll save money on food. When you buy what’s in season, you buy food that’s at the peak of its supply, and costs less to farmers and distribution companies to harvest and get to your grocery store. It may seem like common sense, but it’s one of those things many of us ignore when we’re shopping.

However, the best consequence of eating seasonally is that you get the best tasting, healthiest food available. The same reasons that keep the cost of seasonal food down also drive its quality up: The food is grown closer to you so it doesn’t spoil on its trip, it’s harvested at the peak of its season and sold during its season, before it spoils. Ideally, this means you’re getting fruits and vegetables that haven’t had time to lose their flavor or their health benefits by sitting in a shipping container for a trip across the ocean. If you buy locally, you’ll have a better chance at getting foods that are seasonal, fresh, and support local farmers and businesses in your community. Shop at a near by farmer’s market or coop, or support a local farm by signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project (or other fresh food delivery service.) Many of those farms and businesses also likely offer organic or sustainable options if you’re looking for them. You may wind up spending more to put your money where your taste buds (or personal ethics) are, but it may be a trade off that’s worthwhile to you in the long run.

A pleasant side-effect of eating what’s in season is that you get a broader variety of foods in your diet. Those foods can broaden your palate, for one, but they may also expose you to dishes and ingredients you may not have otherwise explored, and while it doesn’t go for every location, it can also help you eat a more well-rounded and balanced diet as well.

Many of us do this by default to a certain degree—in the spring and summer we eat berries and stonefruit, then as summer turns to fall we turn our attention to apples, pumpkins, and squash. Part of that is because they’re ingrained in our culture, but also because they’re seasonal and plentiful. Expanding your horizons a little more can open the door to way more delicious food that you can get and prepare cheaply.

Submitted by Tricia@Nutrition by Tricia

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