Why Eat Seasonal?

Technology has made it easier to sell fruits & vegetables year-round, but it hasn’t made it easier to preserve the ripe taste. Eating in-season produce provides more nutrition & more flavor. Produce that’s not in season undergoes early picking, cooling, & heating that reduces the flavor. Fruits & vegetables...

THE GOOD BEHIND WHAT YOU EAT

Tatianna

3/7/20214 min read

Why Eat Seasonal?

Technology has made it easier to sell fruits & vegetables year-round, but it hasn’t made it easier to preserve the ripe taste.  Eating in-season produce provides more nutrition & more flavor.  Produce that’s not in season undergoes early picking, cooling, & heating that reduces the flavor.  Fruits & vegetables in season spend less time from farm to table, so they maintain much of their nutrition & flavor.

It cuts transportation which lowers the carbon footprint.

Lastly, our bodies are made to eat seasonally.  Late fall & winter provide produce rich in vitamin C, which helps with wellness during cold & flu season.  Peaches, nectarines, & other stone fruits found in summer contain vitamins that help protect against sun damage.  Eating fruits & vegetables in season provides your body with the necessary nutrients appropriate for the time of year.

According to research studies, nutrient content changes in foods depending on which seasons they were produced in.  For example, in a study conducted by the

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food in London, England researchers found that nutrient content was different in milk harvested in the summer versus winter.  Because of the change in the cow’s diet to less fresh plants in the summer, these cows produced nutritionally different milks.  Japanese researchers also found tremendous differences in the nutritional content of spinach harvested in summer versus winter.

In order to preserve foods that are out of season, these produce items are often covered in waxes and preservatives in order to maintain their fresh appearance.  Also, the longer produce sits on the shelves, the more nutrients and antioxidants they seem to lose.  According to research from the University of California, Davis, spinach and green beans lose two-thirds of their vitamin C within a week of harvest.  Pair long transport times and sitting on the grocery store shelves and who knows how nutrient-dense your produce really is.

Benefits of eating seasonally:

Supports our local farmers who choose to farm sustainably.  Local food supports the local economy.  The money you spend on products from local farmers and growers stays in the community and is reinvested with other local businesses.  In addition, food grown locally, processed locally and distributed locally (for example, to local restaurants) generates jobs and subsequently helps stimulate local economies.

Preserves the environment.  Purchasing locally grown foods helps support local farms and maintains farmland and open space in your community.  A recent USDA study also found that direct-to-consumer producers were less likely to apply pesticides and herbicides to control weeds and insects than conventional producers (with the exception of chemicals to control insects and weeds in fruit, nut and berry crops).

You have a broader variety of foods in your diet.

Saves your wallet, seasonal foods are cheaper to produce and often cheaper to buy when they are in season as well.  Supply and demand simply explains how buying produce seasonally saves money.  Produce in season is more abundant, so it is less per pound in the store.  If you are buying produce that is out of season, there is travel, time and added expenses to grow it in a greenhouse.  As we truck in produce from other areas, it requires gas to get the produce to the store.  This fuel charge is something often added to the price of the food upon delivery, not to mention what this does to the carbon footprint.

Grown closer to you so it doesn’t spoil during transport

Harvested at the peak of freshness to ensure dense nutrient content.  When produce is picked before it’s ripe, the nutrients do not fully develop in the flesh of the fruit.  Plants need the sun to grow, and picking them before they are ripe cuts off the nutrient availability.  Genetic modification is also sometimes used, which can alter how the crop was naturally supposed to be consumed.  Also, if you eat seasonally, you are guaranteed to consume a variety of produce, which will assist you in eating a balanced diet.

Sold during its season, before it spoils or is forced to undergo unnatural preservative processes.  Seasonal fruits and vegetables retain more nutrients than their counterparts making them the better choice for your health.

Local growers can tell you how the food was grown.  When you buy directly from farmers, you have the opportunity to ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops.  When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about your food

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What is seasonal and when in Florida?

Below is a shortlist of what’s seasonally harvested in Florida from the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.  Find a more comprehensive list here:  

http://ediblesouthflorida.ediblefeast.com/sites/default/files/media/ckeditor/73/harvest-calendar-2.jpg

Winter:

-Apples

-Avocados

-Bananas

-Beets

-Carrots

-Grapefruit

-Kiwifruit

-Lemons

-Limes

-Onions

-Oranges

-Pears

-Pineapples

-Pumpkins

-Squash

-Sweet corn

-Sweet potatoes

Spring:

-Apples

-Apricots

-Avocados

-Bananas

-Beets

-Blueberries

-Carrots

-Corn

-Cucumber

-Cherries

-Garlic

-Kiwifruit

-Lemons

-Limes

-Mangoes

-Oranges

-Onions

-Peaches

-Pears

-Plums

-Pineapples

-Rhubarb

-Strawberries

-Tangerines

Summer:

-Apples

-Apricots

-Avocados

-Bananas

-Beets

-Bell Peppers

-Blackberries

-Blueberries

-Cantaloupe

-Carrots

-Cherries

-Corn

-Cucumbers

-Figs

-Garlic

-Grapes

-Honeydew

-Lemons

-Limes

-Mangos

-Oranges

-Peaches

-Plums

-Raspberries

-Strawberries

-Summer Squash

-Tomatillos

-Tomatoes

-Watermelon

-Zucchini

Fall:

-Apples

-Bananas

-Beets

-Bell Peppers

-Cantaloupes

-Carrots

-Cranberries

-Garlic

-Ginger

-Grapes

-Kiwifruit

-Lemons

-Limes

-Mangos

-Onions

-Pears

-Pineapples

-Pomegranate

-Pumpkins

-Raspberries

-Sweet Potatoes & Yams

-Winter Squash

-Zucchini