I LOVE eating seasonally for five main reasons.
1) Seasonal produce usually grows locally and is therefore fresher because it hasn’t traveled nearly as far as when it is not in season. For example, imagine you are eating tomatoes in March. With some certainty, I would predict that those tomatoes are from either Florida or Mexico (as long as you’re in States). It’s also possible that they are grown in a greenhouse. Those Florida tomatoes are picked underripe and green (they look like apples according to Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit author Barry Estabrook) and then shipped. They are then gassed with ethylene to artificially ripen them. They now look “fresh” and tasty but are almost always flavorless. Eating tomatoes that are in local and in season would avoid the thousands of miles traveled and the CO2 gasses emitted due to those thousands of miles.
2) It promotes local jobs and boosts our local economy. This one is pretty straightforward. I’d like to emphasize that it would be great to extend the Shop Small and the Made in America movements to the food and produce that we consume.
3) Seasonal produce TASTES significantly better than when it’s picked unripe in order to travel, then traveled for many days, and then gassed with ethylene gas to artificially ripen them. See number one for more on this. The example that I provided was about tomatoes, however it applies to most fresh produce. Personally, I make very few exceptions to my seasonal eating rule [frozen berries, bananas, plantains, and that’s pretty much it].
4) Seasonal produce is fresher because it’s grown closer to home. Fresher produce has more nutrients. For example, author Jo Robinson educates readers that a significant amount of nutrients in broccoli are lost within the first 24 hours after harvesting. Imagine if that broccoli was picked a week ago so that it could travel to you? It might look fresh, bur it sure wouldn’t be providing you with the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that you were hoping it did. [Her book is fascinating by the way. Here is a link: Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health.]
5) In Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle she discusses eating tomatoes so much while they are in season that you almost become sick of them. You don’t crave them as much during the offseason and you’re not tempted to eat a tasteless mealy tomato in January, because your tomato craving has been satiated for the year. I love this way to view it and have tried to really adopt this mentality since reading her book in 2011.
Hopefully you’re inspired to go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and get some local food!
Hugs & Health <3,