Updated: Mar 24, 2021
By Blair Doucette, MScN
The sun is high in the sky and the dog days of summer are marching on. Right now, eating foods that are in season seems pretty easy. Even parties and cookouts are often stocked with fruits and veggies that can be picked up at your local farm stand. But eating foods that are in season can actually be done year-round with relative ease and enjoyment. There are so many reasons why eating seasonally is the way to go:
Better Taste and Better For You
Food that is allowed to grow until peak ripeness and then is quickly brought to your table is going to be much higher in nutrient content than food that’s picked early and then processed and shipped around the country or world. Every day that your tomatoes are en route in the middle of the winter to get to your local grocery store, they’re losing some of their beneficial nutrient content. And let's face it, they usually end up tasting a bit disappointing, too. This is because fruits and veggies that are in season pack a whole lot more of a flavor punch as well. Think about all the best ripe strawberries you’ve had as a dessert on an early summer night or the crisp apples you’ve picked right as the days are getting shorter, or the warming pumpkin pie you’ve made for a late fall treat to share with some friends. These are the foods that our bodies are craving at the peak of their seasonal ripeness.
An added nutritional bonus is that these seasonal items provide nutrition that is tailored to your local environment. They’re foods that are dealing with the same environmental factors as you. Fruits and veggies that grow in the summer are hydrating in addition to providing a level of skin protection from the sun. Citrus crops are bountiful in the middle of winter when we need that extra dose of vitamin C. Nature provides our daily multi-vitamin in its purest form.
More bang for your buck! Foods are cheaper during their peak of supply. It’s cheaper and easier on the farmers who don’t have to invest in sci-fi level equipment to grow items like pineapples in the middle of a Virginia winter. And since your food is more likely to come from a local farmer when you’re eating in season rather than out of season food distribution costs go down, which can lighten the load on your wallet.
Supporting Your Local Economy
Eating seasonally usually involves eating locally. Eating locally supports your local farmers and therefore helps your community grow. The money you spend on local produce is often reinvested in other local businesses, which helps generate jobs and further stimulates your local economy.
So go on and give it a try - and if you ever get stumped, there are plenty of online resources for finding seasonal food in your area!
Blair Doucette is a Holistic Nutritionist and Farm Hand at Woodside Farms. She holds a masters degree in Nutrition and a bachelors degree in Environmental Policy and Anthropology. She is passionate about community development, sustainable agriculture, and nutrition.