Seasonal Produce: Why You Should Buy It
With the ever growing local and organic movement taking center stage, there is much talk about buying seasonal. Have you ever found that your berries are too bitter, or asparagus too bland? Healthitude.com suggests, “Today’s global market allows us to buy any type of fruit or vegetable virtually at any time we’d like. While it’s convenient, it’s not a sustainable or especially flavorful way to select your food.”
Buying produce out of season means it’s been packaged, shipped, unloaded and then sold – a long process that ends up leaching the flavors, colors and general goodness that fresh produce is supposed to provide your body. Purchasing seasonal not only is better for you but your wallet as well.
First and foremost, buying seasonal will be easy on the bank account. When food is in season, it’s easier to come by, and therefore cheaper for stores to get in stock – often times, you’ll find berries on a 2 for 1 sale because farms are simply flooded with produce. If you’re looking to eat healthy on a budget, this is the way to do it.
- Repurpose it: You don’t need to buy a pile of carrots and then just eat them plain. Consider putting them into your home made hummus or make soup – you’ll get the most bang for your buck by utilizing the produce in every way possible.
- Save it: Make a big batch of fresh pesto and freeze it for use throughout the winter when basil is more expensive and hard to come by; you’ll get a glimpse of summer sitting around your winter dinner table.
Your Colorful Plate
Produce is naturally colorful. Thanks to phytochemicals, the produce section is bursting with color. Thus, when you have a colorful plate, you know you’re eating healthy. But, at the peak of season, fruits and veggies are showing their brightest hues, making it the ideal time to dive in. To make the most of in season nutrients, get all your favorite vegetables together for every meal.
- Not your usual Salad: Sick of lettuce and cheese? Throw together cucumbers, shaved carrots, steamed broccoli, and steamed asparagus with salt, pepper and Italian dressing. Tip: Cook up some penne for a very fresh pasta salad.
The Farmer’s Market
Buying seasonally in the summer can be an experience if you leave the four walls of your grocery store and find the nearest farmers market. The smells of fresh produce, sounds of families gathering around their local stands, and sunshine on your face make for a wonderful weekend morning trip. But, instead of just going for the usual produce and heading out, take some time to experience what a farmer’s market is really about.
- Talk to the farmers: Have a conversation with the people selling your produce. Where are they located? What other produce do they have? Perhaps their winter produce will yield you some local items for you, as well.
- Relax: Going to the farmers market isn’t your typical trip to the grocery store after work – it’s an experience to enjoy. Take your time at each stand, see what there is to offer – consider purchasing produce you’ve never tried and ask the sellers for their personal favorite recipes.
Buying seasonal saves you money and benefits your health – and doing so at the farmer’s market will make all the difference. Take advantage of the summer months and buy seasonal AND local. Your body and your wallet will thank you. Check out the seasonal food chart below!