Locally grown foods and farm-to-fork options are popular with families and individuals who want to eat nutrient-dense food that tastes good. Seasonal eating makes it possible to enjoy a variety of foods throughout the year and also offers additional benefits.
Foods in Season Taste Better
Anyone who loves tomatoes knows that the best-tasting tomato is one grown during the tomato season. It is not unusual for tomatoes grown out of season to be hard or mealy and lack noticeable flavor.
In most areas, summer is the best time to get a great tasting tomato— those that are juicy, with that familiar sweet and tart flavor balance. Cucumbers, corn, and green beans are other vegetables that provide peak flavor during the summer.
Fortunately, summer is not the only time to enjoy fruits and vegetables with distinctive seasonal flavors. In the fall, nothing is better than a juicy, sweet concord grape or a fresh, crisp apple. During the winter, sweet oranges, and tangerines fill fruit bowls throughout the land. Cabbage and collards are cool weather favorites that lend seasonal freshness to a variety of dishes, including soups and stir-fries.
Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables are More Nutritious
Locally-sourced seasonal fruits harvested at peak freshness and ripeness are more nutritious than those picked before early and shipped long distances. Harvesting fruits and vegetables before they get ripe does not allow nutrients to develop. During shipping and storage, the nutrients in these foods start to diminish. Another nutritional perk of seasonal eating is that consumers can select a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
Purchasing Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables Saves Money
In-season fresh fruits and vegetables are economical choices due to their abundance. During the summer, it’s cheaper to purchase large quantities of vegetables like corn and green beans and preserve them by canning or freezing. Transporting fruits and vegetables adds to the cost, and as a result, the consumer pays more.
Eating Seasonal Food Promotes a Healthier Environment
Seasonal food that is locally-grown is readily available without shipping. Transporting produce long-distance requires vehicles that burn fuel, which contributes to poor air quality. Plastics and other packaging used when shipping food creates waste.
Eating Seasonally Helps the Local Economy
Purchasing seasonal foods from local growers helps them stay in business and adds dollars to the local economy. Fruits and vegetables shipped long distances mostly benefit the farms and areas where the foods grow.