Today’s easy transportation systems give us access to almost any type of fruit or vegetable whenever we want. Fresh strawberries in February anyone? It’s easy to take this for granted and it leaves many of us unaware of what fruits or vegetables are actually in season where we live.
Even if you’re not growing your own garden this Spring (although we think you totally should!) eating with the seasons is really important. It is a lifestyle that encourages you to only eat the produce that is considered in season for your location.
The benefits of this lifestyle are pretty amazing for your mind, body and community. Not only is it healthier, but it genuinely tastes better, too! We’ve compiled a list of benefits along with our favourite fresh produce for Spring.
4 Benefits of Eating with the Seasons
1. Higher Nutritional Value
Does anything beat fresh fruit and vegetables? Of course, you can get almost anything delivered to your door in a matter of hours, but are we really getting the freshest options?
When we buy produce that is out of season, it usually means it had to travel long distances to get to us or has been frozen for weeks. As soon as produce is picked, it loses its nutritional value. Therefore when it travels long distances to get to you, the nutritional value decreases.
We know waiting to eat your favourite fruits can be tough, but it is definitely worth it! We also know that it sometimes isn’t realistic. When we can’t get our hands on in-season produce, we always reach for an organic substitute. Organic foods have better nutritional value because they contain fewer pesticides like herbicides and are Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) free! This also makes organic food more nutrient-rich with antioxidants, making it the perfect substitute.
2. Supports Local Businesses
There is no better reason to eat with the seasons than this! There is a greater chance to support local farms and businesses while getting to know the suppliers in your community. Local farms will have the best produce for the season and it is usually right down the street! Look for fresh produce stands at your local farmers' market or find other local vendors on websites like Local Harvest. You’ll learn quickly what is in season and what isn’t.
3. Environmentally Friendly
Do you really know where your produce comes from? Sure the sticker on your apple may give you an indication, but how far did it travel to finally get to your grocery store? When you eat what is in season, the fruits and vegetables don’t have to travel as far to get to you eliminating the gas emissions and extra packaging that comes with moving produce long distances. There may even be opportunities to pick your own fruits and vegetables in your community where you can bring your own container from home!
If you’re opting for organic products, you’re in luck here as well. Organic farming is typically better for the environment because there isn’t the use of harsh chemicals like synthetic pesticides, which increases soil fertility and reduces pollution.
4. It Tastes Better!
Do you ever wonder why watermelon tastes so much better in the summertime? It’s because you are consuming it when it is in season! When produce is massed produced to keep up with the demand in the off-season, it doesn’t have time to fully grow and develop its delicious flavour and peak nutritional value. This causes your strawberries to lack their beloved juicy taste, or leaves your tomatoes a bit mushy.
If you’re not sure what is in seasons, check out this list below from the U.S Department of Agriculture:
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter Squash