Eating with the seasons is a practice as old as farming itself. It’s about choosing fruits and vegetables that are at the peak of their supply when they’re freshest and most flavorful. But why exactly should we eat seasonally? Let’s dig into the roots of this concept.
Freshness and Flavor Go Hand in Hand
First off, seasonal produce can be fresher, which also means it’s often tastier. Imagine biting into a juicy, ripe peach in the middle of summer or savoring the crisp sweetness of an apple in the fall. These foods taste better when they come from closer to home and haven’t spent days or weeks in transit.
Nutrition at Its Peak
Seasonal fruits and vegetables don’t just taste better—they can actually be better for you. When harvested at the right time, produce is more likely to have a higher nutritional content. For example, vitamin C can degrade over time in stored fruits and vegetables, so fresher produce often provides more of this nutrient.
Support Your Local Economy
Buying seasonal produce supports local farmers and the local economy. It’s a way to stay connected with the community and understand where your food comes from. Plus, local food doesn’t have to travel far, so it has a lower carbon footprint.
A Win for Your Wallet
Seasonal food can be less expensive when it’s abundant. High supply typically means lower prices for the consumer. So, by choosing seasonal items, you’re likely to get more bang for your buck.
Encourages a Varied Diet
Eating seasonally keeps things interesting. It encourages you to vary your diet throughout the year, introducing you to new flavors and recipes and broadening your culinary horizon.
Harmony with Nature’s Rhythms
There’s something to be said for the natural rhythm of eating what’s available as the seasons change. Some say that seasonal foods provide the nutrients the body needs for that time of year, like more refreshing fruits in hot summers and root vegetables for starchy, warming dishes in winter.
It’s About Enjoyment
Beyond all these reasons, there’s the simple joy of eating foods that are in season. There’s a pleasure in looking forward to that first strawberry of spring or the first pumpkin pie of the fall. Eating seasonally brings us closer to nature’s cycles and can make mealtime more special.
Summing It Up
In a world where you can buy almost any food at any time of year, it’s easy to forget that produce has a season. But when you eat seasonally, you’re likely to enjoy foods that are fresher, tastier, more nutritious, and more economical. It’s a practice that benefits your health, your community, and the planet.