Buying in-season produce is becoming more and more important for all of us, especially families who struggle to include more fresh fruits and vegetables while staying on a tight budget.
There are many reasons why in-season foods are important for us all to include in our meals. In addition to reducing the amount of time our food travels to get to our tables, the reduction in fuel spent to transport fruits and vegetables not only across country but across the globe and the lost nutrients when our produce travels the world are definitely all considerations that we much face. Some resources are not sustainable so we should be involved in conservation if we can.
Nutritionally, buying more local produce at the height of its nutritional content as well as when it is most affordable makes sense for families and all of us.
Eating a tomato fresh from the vine is a taste explosion unmatched by eating them any other way. An ear of sweet corn or a crunch of a fall apple or the juiciness of just picked blueberries will help you remember why in-season produce is so special. It’s not just summer produce but winter squash, late fall/early winter citrus especially tangerines at the holidays and the colors of the rainbow we find over the winter.
The taste of produce that is farm fresh is unbeatable.
While it is true that produce that is flash frozen at or near the harvest does keep the nutrients largely intact and the flavors fresher than in years past. Frozen produce gives us the opportunity to have nutritious vegetables and fruits on hand on a daily basis and can augment waning winter months when our favorites are not locally available in fresh forms.
We can capitalize on the bounty of the garden by canning, freezing and preparing jams or jellies while our family favorites are in-season and cheaper.
Buying from farmer’s markets or being a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) will mean that you can get farm fresh produce and even get to know your growers. In this way you can be assured from the source that your produce is pesticide free.
Sometimes buying from the farm may mean we enjoy produce that isn’t always as perfectly shaped as we have come to expect (which only helps drive up the prices without changing the nutritional content) but realize that we are getting what nature made to nourish our bodies.
There are many guides that can be found for your area that will help you know what produce is in season. Planning your meals to include all the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables gets easier when you have great in-season choices.