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Why you should eat in season

why you should eat in season

Hooray, it’s finally springtime! Though it may not feel like it everywhere yet, warmer days – and warmer running conditions – are right around the corner.

Besides the shorts and t-shirt weather, I’m also looking forward to some of my favorite spring produce – particularly plump, juicy strawberries and blueberries. Yum.

What it means to eat “in season”
Why is it that berries and cherries taste better in the springtime? Other produce – like oranges and certain leafy greens – are extra delicious during this time of year, too. It’s due to the same reason that apples and squash are so irresistible during the fall months: Because they’re in season.

Produce can only grow and be harvested during certain months of the year in a specific location. Fresh fruits and veggies that are currently being harvested in your area are said to be “in season”. However, the fresh produce that’s being picked in your town today is not currently growing or ready to eat in other parts of the world. So, produce that is in season right now in California, for instance, is different from the foods that are in season at the moment in Great Britain.

The benefits of eating seasonally
However, thanks to today’s large global marketplace, it is possible to eat virtually any fruit or vegetable at almost any time of the year – even when they’re not in season in your area. That’s because produce is literally shipped from all over the world to fill the shelves at your grocery store.

But buying foods when they’re out of season isn’t best for your taste buds, health, wallet, or local economy. Eating foods when they’re in season boasts several benefits. Foods that are in season:

  • Pack more of a nutritional punch. By eating seasonally, you’ll get more nutrients because you’ll be changing your diet with the calendar. In addition, foods that are harvested in season have higher antioxidant content than foods that aren’t.
  • Taste better. Harvesting foods when they’re in season means flavors are at their peak. If you’ve eaten “fresh” tomatoes over the winter, they likely tasted sour or flavorless. Don’t worry, tomatoes will taste better in the summer. 
  • Help the environment. When you purchase food that’s not in season, keep in mind that it traveled hundreds — or even thousands  — of miles to get to your kitchen. Shipping foods long distances causes carbon dioxide emissions that harm the environment. 
  • Support the local economy. Eating in season means you purchase foods when they’re available in your area. Your hard-earned dollar goes directly to the farmer and you support your local economy. When you buy produce at large chain stores, the money is divided up between the grocery chain, shipping company, and farmer.
  • Cost less. When foods are in season, they cost less. Plus, you won’t pay the premium that’s added to food that’s scarce or shipped from far away. Shopping at local farmers’ markets will likely save you even more money.

To find out what produce is currently in season in your area, check out www.eattheseasons.com.

Written by Jen Matz.

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