5 Reasons Why You Should Eat In Season

Have you ever asked yourself what does it take to make a tomato pretty in the winter, or where were those winter grapes grown and how far did they have to travel to get to me?  Believe me; you honestly would not want to know.  Getting those out of season fruits and vegetables to our tables actually take a toll on the environment, local communities, and the plants.  There is no wonder why there is a huge seasonal eating movement as it has proven to be beneficial in several ways.

The Reasons Why You Should Eat In Season

1. Support Your Farmers:

Farmers do not get much on the dollar when selling to grocery stores.  Therefore, when you eat in season and shop directly with your local farmers, you are not only benefiting your household but you are supporting the farmers as well.  A recent study shows that the farmer only gets 12 cents for every dollar spent on food at the grocery store.  When you buy direct from the farmer you are investing in the success and future of the farm.  Not only are you supporting your local farms but you get a chance to establish relationships and learn more about where your food is coming from and the work and love put into growing your food, so that you feel better eating it. Children will usually partake in things where they are involved or see a direct correlation.  If they know that the carrots come from “their” farmer then they will most likely eat them.  Take them along with you to the markets or to visit a farm and watch their vegetable intake increase!

2. Build Local Community:

When you eat in season you are not only impacting the farmers but you also have a direct impact on your community.  This is done in a few ways.  First you are helping in preserving farmlands which not only keeps property taxes down but also provides a scenic and serene environment for locals to visit.  Furthermore, studies have been completed showing that the influx of farmer’s markets have created jobs and also an economic boost to local businesses.

3. Nutrition:

A lot of our fruits and vegetables are picked unripe and transported and stored for several days/weeks before they hit the supermarket shelf.  These fruits and vegetables are usually ripened by using ethylene gas.  This significantly impacts the nutrition value of the produce.  When you buy local your fruits and veggies are picked when they are ripe only a few hours before purchased resulting in peak nutrition for your body to intake. Since the local fruits and vegetables are usually picked within a few hours of purchase they are not only loaded with nutrition but they taste fresh and vibrant. In addition, if you have not noticed, seasonal fruits and vegetables provide your body’s needs for that specific time of the year.  For instance, in winter we find many root vegetables, which are hearty and warming and citrus fruits, onions, and leafy greens, which build your immune system.   In summer the foods are cooling such as watermelon, tomatoes, and a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables.  Nature knows best!

4. Exposure to New Vegetables:

Most of the larger grocery chains stock the same mainstream fruits and vegetables throughout the year.  When you shop locally you will get to see all of the vegetables that are indigenous to your area or that are not part of mainstream produce.  Not only will the exposure to new vegetables keep you inspired in the kitchen but you will have a newfound love for even the common vegetables that you get from your local farmer.  Now who would let a beautiful nutritious head of cauliflower go to waste knowing that it was not factory grown but grown by their local farmer?  When you buy local produce you are more likely to search the web or your stock of cookbooks to showcase your acquired produce.

5. Learning:

Having direct communication with your local farmers will increase your knowledge greatly and help you understand where your food is coming from, the challenges faced due to current weather conditions, how long a certain items takes to grow and how they are grown.  You will get loads of information by working with and establishing relationships with your local farmers.  When visiting a farm or farmer’s market ask questions so that you are better informed.

As you can see, your choice to eat in season will have an impact on you and your family, local farmers, local economy and the environment.  It is rewarding to know exactly where your food is coming from and puts the power back in your hands to properly support your family’s nutrition.

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