It’s spring here in sunny South Carolina and for us, the growing season has begun. This is the time of year that local farmer’s markets begin opening around my town. And that means plenty of freshly grown local produce to bring home. There is something wonderful about eating seasonally!
Today we live in a time when most produce is shipped in to the US from around the world. And much of it is available all year. But that wasn’t always the case. A little over a century ago, most people ate produce seasonally, because that is when it was available to them. It was common for every family to have a garden in the backyard. And they would typically share with neighbors. What wasn’t consumed was preserved through canning or freezing to be enjoyed at a later time.
But now that so much produce is available all the time, we’ve lost track of the benefits that come from eating seasonally.
Although purchasing produce from your local supermarket is convenient, purchasing locally allows you to experience more benefits. I always recommend buying from local farmers first!
What are the benefits of eating seasonally?
When you are eating seasonally, the produce you buy will be much fresher. This is true for both store bought produce as well as produce purchased from local farms. When you make the choice to purchase locally however, the produce will be the freshest you can buy. Farmers will often pick produce the morning that they sell it. Store bought produce still must often travel to reach your local store. That time spent in shipping, reduces freshness.
Have you ever tasted a store bought tomato and were disappointed because there wasn’t a whole lot of flavor? A freshly picked tomato is juicy and so full of flavor that you can tell the difference. There is no comparison between the taste of produce purchased at the store and that was grown in your backyard or by a local farmer. Produce that has been picked for your grocery store is typically picked early and chilled during the shipping process to help maintain freshness.
Rich in nutrients
There is a growing problem with nutrient deficiencies in the US. More and more people are experiencing the symptoms of nutrient deficiencies and remain completely unaware of the reason for their suffering. Because of that, the need to consume nutrient rich foods is vitally important for most people. Unfortunately, much of the store bought produce you purchase may have lower nutrient content than produce that is purchased from local farmers. Conventional produce is not allowed to ripen fully before it is shipped across the country or across the world. The longer many fruits and vegetables stay in storage, the more vital nutrients are allowed to degrade. The nutrient content of what is sold at the stores is significantly lower than produce fresh off the vine or from the field.
In season produce is plentiful. And during these times typically costs significantly less than out of season produce. And that can definitely benefit your wallet! If you purchase locally in season produce, it doesn’t have the same shipping expenses that conventional store bought produce does. And that allows you to save money.
Better for the environment
When you purchase local, in season produce, there is less of a demand for produce to be shipped from overseas. This is ultimately a more sustainable choice and better for the environment as well.
If you want the healthiest, freshest, most flavorful produce, choose some from a local farmer. It’s better for you and for the environment!
Do you know what grows in each seaons?
Here’s the seasonal growing schedule in the US