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Why You Should Give Seasonal Produce a Try

posted Oct 2, 2015, 8:48 AM by
As the weather turns cooler, fresh summer produce like berries, peaches, watermelon, and tomatoes are quickly disappearing from our local farmer’s markets. But all is not lost! There are many benefits of eating what’s in season all year long, not just in the summer months. Here are some of our favorite reasons to eat what’s in season throughout the year:

Better flavor: Think of slicing into a fresh tomato in the middle of August, and then compare that to a tomato that you pick up at the supermarket in February. They don’t taste anything alike! Produce tends to be most flavorful when it’s in season because it typically doesn’t have to travel as far to get to your plate. We also learned that some greens like spinach get sweeter in the winter to prevent them from freezing. Choosing more flavorful produce isn’t only enjoyable, it can also help you eat better. You’re much more likely to get your recommended servings of fruits and veggies when your fridge and fruit basket are full of flavorful options.

Save money:  We discussed why buying in season produce can save you money last week (hint: it’s an issue of supply, demand, and lower transportation costs). Saving money is always a good thing, but if you’re spending less on produce, you can also afford to buy more, making it beneficial for your budget and your health.

Try a wider variety of foods: Eating according to what’s in season can help get you out of a food rut. Instead of eating the same things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner week after week, searching out seasonal produce can help you expand your cooking repertoire. For example, now that it’s fall, you can pick up squashes like acorn and butternut very inexpensively. Challenge yourself to learn a few new ways to prepare winter squash, such as roasting and adding it to a kale salad or making a soup.

Get excited for fruits and veggies: An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but after a while, it can make you pretty sick of apples. If you vary your fruits and veggies by season, there’s always something to look forward to. After an apple-less spring and summer, that crisp fall apple will taste delicious. In the middle of winter, I get excited to add grapefruits and pomegranates to my breakfasts, snacks, and salads. Eating in season means there’s always a new fruit or veggie to anticipate so that eating well is less likely to get boring.

Seasonal produce is also more likely to be locally grown, and next week we’ll discuss why that might be beneficial. Later this month, we’ll also discuss where to buy local, seasonal produce and how to figure out what to make with it. Stay tuned!