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Many health experts recommend eating seasonal produce to optimize the benefits you’re getting by eating. Seasonal produce are fruits and vegetables that grow during certain times within your local area. Eating seasonally is important for your health, the planet, and your wallet. Discover four reasons why you should consider making this movement a lifestyle rather than just a trend!
When produce is in season, grocery stores are more likely to locally purchase their stock. Strawberries are in-season during the spring. If you find them in the produce section, this means they’re being shipped from other parts of the country – or other countries altogether. By purchasing locally grown foods, your money is supporting local farmers and their families.
Not sure how to find out what is local to your area? Here in Tennessee, we have an incredibly valuable website – Pick Tennessee Products. If you do a search for farms in your area, you can easily find an assortment of places to begin your search. Not all farms sell to the public; however, they may be able to direct you to those who do!
Best Flavor and Quality
Local farms pick produce at the peak of the season. If you’re purchasing locally-grown foods, they have less distance to travel. Less travel time means fewer opportunities for the food to bruise or spoil. Food is more satisfying when it is full of flavor. Why would you want to eat foods that have been in shipping containers, losing their flavor and health benefits? When produce is shipped around the world, the travel time is often used to mature/ripen the fruits and veggies. They are handled numerous times through shipping, customs, travel to the corporate warehouses, distribution to the stores, and finally, when stocked at your local grocery store. Get the best flavor and quality for your dollar by purchasing local, seasonal produce!
Try New Seasonal Recipes
Follow the newspapers, TV stations, blogs, etc. local to your area because they often feature recipes related to local, seasonal produce. When our local blueberry farms are at their peak, I can find a large assortment of recipes available. We always try at least one new dish each year after going on a picking adventure.
New recipes encourage a variety of foods in your diet. When I put a new dish on the table, it’s a rule for our family to try several bites before deciding if we like it or not. My youngest son, Aidan, is my picky eater but we’ve been able to expand his diet by buying local produce and growing a garden. He enjoys visiting the farms to pick for ourselves as well as the farmer’s market.
When produce is in season that means there is an abundance and you can get it way less than you normally would pay. For example, during the winter, asparagus ranges in price from $3.99 to $5.99 a pound; however, if you purchase it during the time they grow in your area you can get it as low as $.99 a pound! That is a huge savings for your grocery budget.
Keep an eye out for what drops drastically in price during the year. That will be a good indication that is what is in season right now. You can also ask the produce department at your local grocery store. They will be able to let you know when to expect certain fruits and vegetables to be less expensive.
By shopping seasonal produce, you’re less likely to get out-of-area food and you’ll be saving money. Plus you’ll get much more variety in your diet by trying new recipes. The food will be fresher and you’ll be supporting your community. So whenever possible, shop seasonal produce and reap all the benefits!
Which season is your favorite?