Today we have access to fruits and vegetables from all over the world, meaning we no longer have to plan meals around what’s being harvested locally. We have access to a bigger variety of fruits and veggies than ever before, but just because you can buy out of season does not mean you should. In fact, there are many reasons why you should do just the opposite. Here are a few benefits of purchasing seasonal produce.
When you choose to buy items that are currently in season in your own back yard, you are removing the long transport to the grocery store made by non-seasonal produce. No longer is there a need for a cross-country truck ride, decreasing the gas used to transport the produce to your local store. With shorter trips, there are also fewer resources needed to keep the produce “fresh,” such as refrigeration and packaging.
Have you ever noticed the sale items in the center of the grocery store’s loss leader put out in the newspaper? There are often a slew of items that are currently in season being offered at reduced prices. For instance, when apples are dropping from the trees in the Midwest, the local grocery will likely utilize it as a drawing point to bring potential customers in. Having produce readily available and in high supply often translates to lower prices for you. Knowing the items that are seasonally available in your area can help you plan budget-friendly meals.
Few things are tastier than a piece of produce just recently plucked. When you eliminate the extended travel time and the need for preservatives and wax, you increase the freshness of the produce you are placing in your cart. Items that are being grown in their natural climate can also impact the taste. Have you ever noticed the difference in a tomato that you bite into during the winter as opposed to one that was ripened during the height of its natural season? Manipulating the environment to create proper conditions for growth does not always translate to the most succulent fruits or veggies.
While you may associate summer with large harvests and winter with a paltry selection, this is not always the case. There are actually many vegetables and fruits that thrive during cooler temperatures. If you stick with seasonal items, you will find yourself rotating the ingredients in your menu, naturally creating more variety in your diet throughout the year.
Sticking with seasonal items can impact both your diet and the environment. It also gives you a great excuse to introduce new types of produce to your family as the months change.