Eating in Season this Spring
Spring has sprung! As the weather gets warmer, we can expect different fruits and vegetables to come into season near us. Eating in season has become increasingly popular and for good reasons. There are many benefits to eating in season fruits and vegetables for our health, community, and wallet! If you have ever considered prioritizing in season produce or want to learn more about them, now is a great time to do so!
Here are some reasons to eat in season produce:
1. It tastes better and is more nutrient dense.
One of the most important reasons for choosing in season produce is the taste! If you have ever tried in season produce, then you will know that it tastes fresh, sweet, and delicious. This is because produce that is locally grown usually has a higher chance of reaching its full ripeness before being picked than produce that has been shipped from other areas. Eating produce that is at that prime ripeness improves taste greatly.
Choosing in season produce also means that you are choosing the produce with the most nutrients! A study by the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition found that vitamin C content was twice as high in broccoli that was grown in season rather than the broccoli grown out of season. We also know that produce ages when it is being transported and can lose some of its vitamins and minerals during this process. Therefore, there are more vitamins and minerals in these fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables that can help to keep you healthy and nourished!
2. It’s better for the environment.
Much of the produce found in your local grocery store has been grown in a variety of places around the world. This is wonderful because it allows us to have different types of fruits and vegetables all year round regardless of where we live. However, the production and transportation of that produce can negatively impact on our environment.
Columbia Climate School reports that a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions are due to food production. Lots of large farms use pesticides, fertilizers, and irrigation to produce their crops. Smaller farms tend to be more accepting of environmentally friendly practices. By opting to include more seasonal and locally grown food into our meals, we can help to support use of those smaller farms that have a lighter impact on the environment.
3. It’s better for the economy and your wallet.
Choosing in season produce is not only an effective way to support local farms, but support your community, too! Shopping at your local farmer’s market puts your money back into your community. Fresh produce from your local farms also tend to be more affordable because large amounts are harvested during the season. Farmer’s markets can be an important event in a community because they allow you to support local business while bringing wellness into the community.
What’s in season now?
Location plays a huge role because weather and changing climates ultimately determine what can best grow in an area. We can use produce guides to help us keep track of what is in season where. During the spring time we will see lots of delicious produce such as:
For a more exact list of seasonal spring time fruits and vegetables, check out the Seasonal Food Guide to find all of the tasty produce in your area!
How You Can Support Local Farmers
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Allows families to buy shares from a farm to receive deliveries of locally grown produce on a regular basis. It is basically a subscription for healthy produce that benefits both the farms and the families.
U-Pick Farms: Farms that allow you to pick your own produce are a great way to get your family involved with local farms and seasonal foods. The produce is as fresh as it can be by picking it yourself. It is also a great chance to get outside, get some exercise in, and have a fun, family-filled day!
Now that we know more about the importance of eating seasonal produce, get out there and try to include more in season fruits and vegetables into your meals this spring!
Learn more about healthy eating and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.
Written by: Kylie Stupalski, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern