Seasonal food is produce consumed shortly after harvest. For example, during the spring,  when ramps are in season, you’ll see them at the local farmers market. Many of us love to have strawberries throughout the year. However, they are most nutritious when harvested by your local farmer in the summer. While eating seasonally isn’t something new, it is a habit that more food lovers are beginning to adopt. Here’s why people want seasonal ingredients…

Nutritional Benefits

When food is in season, it’s fresher, tastes better, and is more nutritious for you. Much like when we discussed why more consumers want local foods, seasonal fruits and veggies produced on local farms don’t need to be transported long distances in order to be consumed. As a result, you get a yummier and more satisfying product.

Cost effective

Eating seasonally means eating locally, which can save money. If you are targeting seasonal produce to purchase, you are buying product  at its peak of availability. The number of farmers markets has grown rapidly in recent years. Just 2,000 exuisted 1994. Today, more than 8,600 are registered by the USDA. Farmers harvest seasonal produce and get it out to the consumers as simple as possible. More than 85% of farmers market vendors traveled fewer than 50 miles to sell at a farmers markets.  In fact, more than half of farmers traveled less than 10 miles to their market, according to the USDA.

Reducing travel drives down the cost of distribution meaning you will pay less for a quality item. When you read that statement, it’s hard to think why you would consider anything else. But the truth is that people pay for convenience, and sometimes going to a grocery store is just easier. If you have the time, planning your meals around what is in season can help you save money.

Palate Diversity

By eating seasonal foods, you diversify your palate. Buying different types of vegetables and fruits forces you to be innovative when it comes to cooking them. Those who are looking to expand their knowledge in the kitchen turn to seasonal produce to test their culinary skills. It also will help improve your health. Eating seasonally exposes your body to a variety of minerals and nutrients in the seasonal foods

And as we get older, it becomes harder to try new things. “There’s a phenomenon in nutrition we call programming,” says Mohammed Moghadasian, a professor of human nutritional sciences, “which is a nervous-system issue to do with how we perceive food. If you get used to specific types of food or drink when young, then your brain will be programmed to accept the flavours, colours and other features of these foods.” Adopting new vegetables and fruits might be a challenge, but the adventure will be worth it for your health.

Head on over to Seaonal Food Guide to see what’s in season in your state, and get excited about the opportunity to adjust your eating habits to support your local farms.

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