We have access to so many different kinds of produce and most of our produce we can get all year long. If you think about it, that is pretty incredible. However, if we stick to what is in season, those items might be few; by few I mean you might have to go without a dozen or so items, things from which we get way more benefits. So, the upside is to buy produce in season:
Because there is an abundance of that specific produce, the price per unit goes way down. The stores and farmers will want to sell as much as they can while their food is ripe and fresh. So, during the harvest time, the seasonal produce will be cheaper and more abundant. It is, therefore, a win win! Also, the food doesn’t have to travel as far, so you’re not enduring those extra costs.
Usually, when you purchase produce out of season, that produce has to travel thousands of miles to make it to your store. That’s a lot of fossil fuel, time, and energy to sell you a piece of produce that is now out of season and losing all kinds of nutrients on the ride to you from Mexico. Usually, this produce also doesn’t have time to become ripe before harvest so they either have to spray it with chemicals or let it ripen on the truck. This means you’re either exposing yourself to unnecessary chemicals or you’re not getting the maximum benefit out of your food. When you buy loca,l you’re guaranteed to get food with a lower carbon footprint and have access to more information about how it was grown.
If something is picked before it is ready, then how can it be ready to eat? When produce is picked before becoming ripe, you are missing out on nutrients and digestive agents that make them edible. It’s like when you eat a banana before it is ripe and then feel constipated; the riper they get, them more they are being broken down by their natural sugars. Food that doesn’t have to travel long distances can spend the right amount of time on the vine, in the ground, or up in the tree getting the full nutrients that Mother Nature intended. Plus, when something is in season, that means that it was grown just when nature intended, meaning better quality and a better taste.
What’s that saying? “Quality over quantity?” Local farms typically have less acreage with which to work so they are able to give more attention to the plants. They take pride in what they are selling to their customs, I am sure factory farmers do, too; local farmer get the opportunity to get face time with their customers at farmers’ markets and co-ops. Plus, again the mileage, they don’t have to worry about how their product will survive hundreds of miles because it is going less than 100. This means better quality produce and less bumpy roads getting to you.
Being a farmer is one of the hardest jobs out there. They should all be getting subsidized by the government, but unfortunately the only ones getting any real money back are those that are farming more wheat, corn, and soy, so there isn’t a lot of money in the small farms. When you buy local and shop seasonally, you are giving money back to those local farmers.
Do you ever get bored buying the same vegetables over and over again. When you buy seasonally you don’t have a choice you have to mix it up all year long. Most of the foods you will buy are available most of the year, but some of them aren’t; this will give you the perfect opportunity to try all sorts of new recipes and reap the benefits of shopping seasonally.
Depending on where you live, you are exposed to different produce; but with the changing time, a person in Alaska can get a coconut, something that would never ever be available in that region before. So the people who live in Alaska who are eating coconuts in the winter might find themselves getting sick more often. A coconut contains almost nothing that would help you survive a winter in Alaska and the same could be said for most produce that you eat that is out of season. Fruit has a cooling effect on the body, so when you eat it during a snowstorm your body temperature may drop leaving you more prone to getting sick. It is best to try and avoid eating too much fruit in the winter. When you shop for food when it is in season you are guaranteed to be getting exactly what your body needs for that time of year, which will boost your immune system. Bonus: It will be covered in local dirt, with is good for you immune system and will prevent allergies that come in spring and fall.
The most difficult time of year for people to shop is usually winter, but because it is spring now, you have three full seasons to practice and notice how your body is feeling before that time of the year rolls around. There is plenty of produce available in each season, you just might have to experiment with your recipes! For a list of what is in season this spring, click here!