We’re so used to going into the supermarket and being able to select exactly what we want, whenever we want it. But the truth is – nature doesn’t work that way! It’s only due to advances in agri-technology and global supply chains that we can keep eating our favourite fruits and vegetables all year round.
As people have become more environmentally-conscious, there has been a call to “eat seasonally” and “shop local”. Eating in season actually does have some surprising benefits and it’s one of the quickest ways to start improving your health and lowering your environmental impact! So what are the six benefits of eating what is in season?
- Eating seasonally is healthier.
Fresh fruit and vegetables that have ripened and been consumed close to the time of harvesting are fresher and have higher nutritional value compared to non-seasonal produce. When fruit or vegetables are transported and stored for long periods of time, they lose nutrient content.
In the case that fruit and vegetables are produced out of their natural season, farmers have to add additional chemicals and ripening agents, which research has shown reduces the quality of those products.
The other thing to take into account is the fact that your body has varying needs depending on each season. Nature has a beautiful way of providing for those needs. For example, citrus provides much-needed immune support in winter in the form of Vitamin C, while summer fruits contain carotenoids that offer sun protection. So eating seasonally is healthier in terms of nutrient content and quality!
- Eating seasonally is better for the environment.
Eating seasonal fruit and vegetables is not just good for you, it’s good for the planet! Think about all the energy it takes to transport, refrigerate, store and package produce that is imported!? By eating locally, you immediately reduce this environmental cost as the supply chain of bringing these fresh products to you is much less complicated and requires significantly less energy and resources.
Not just that, but globally we have a huge issue with food waste. In the UK alone in 2021, 3.6 million tonnes of food went to landfill. While that statistic includes much more than just fruits and vegetables, the longer fresh produce is in transit, the more likely it is to spoil or be damaged.
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- Seasonal produce tastes better!
If you’ve ever picked a plum tomato straight from your garden and sliced it up over a salad, you’ll know that local, seasonal produce is tastier. The freshness and higher nutrient content of produce that has ripened naturally means that it is more flavour than produce that has been stored, chilled and transported.
- Eating in season supports local farmers.
When you purchase fresh, local produce that is in season you directly support those local producers who are then able to invest and grow their businesses. The best way to go about this is to seek out your local farmers’ market. Another advantage of identifying and knowing the source of your food is that you can find out how your food was produced. In this way, you can ensure you are getting high-quality produce with no chemicals (this is difficult to determine when your food is far away!).
- Eating in season is cheaper.
Yes! You heard us right. What we see in pricing on the shelves of our fresh produce aisle is a calculation of cost to produce, transport, package, store and profit margins… When the cost of transportation, packaging and storage is reduced, the price goes down! The price also benefits when you purchase products in season as supply is at a peak. So you can actually save money, get healthier AND help the environment all in one go!
- Eating seasonally allows you to avoid overseas contaminants
The truth is that every country has different laws and regulations around chemicals, pesticide use and agricultural processes… What may be an unacceptable use of pesticides in your country may be common practice in another. The closer to home you are able to shop, the better you are able to make informed choices about the food you are consuming – it’s as simple as that!
Eating seasonally truly is one of the easiest ways to start improving your own health and the health of the environment immediately (without spending more)! And we may have something even better than a local farmers’ market… You can find fresh, seasonal produce in our online marketplace today!