If you are eating a plant-based diet you are probably eating a lot of plants. Sticking to seasonal produce from your grocery store or farmers market will be less expensive and healthier for you.
I’ll admit, depending on where you live, some places are easier than others to buy local seasonal produce. Right now is a great time to live in Arizona. Gardens are producing and local farmers have plenty to offer.
You can find out what’s in season in your location using this handy tool: Sustainable Table Seasonal Food Guide.
If you need to be convinced that eating seasonally is better for you and for the environment check out these seven reasons you should buy local when possible.
You’ll Save Money
Seasonal produce costs less than food that has to be transported from half way across the world. If you grow your own food you’ll save money. If you can’t grow your own, consider finding a CSA or farmers market.
You’ll Help the Environment
The environmental cost of transporting food from one region or country to another is exorbitant and makes normally environmentally friendly produce bad for the environment. By buying locally, in season, you cut down on the need to transport food across the country or across the world.
The Food Tastes Better
Food picked at its peak will taste better. When you buy local, seasonal produce it’s picked when it’s at its ripest. Try an out of season peach next to a juicy, perfectly ripe, local peach and you’ll get it. If you’ve ever had the privilege of tasting something within minutes of picking it you will understand.
It’s Exciting Waiting for That Season
Have you noticed how apples taste and smell best in the fall. It’s because that is their season. If you eat seasonal produce your taste buds will be more appreciative of a ripe strawberry, or a perfectly grown zucchini. You’ll look forward to each season of new flavors. Who can’t wait for the first juicy tomatoes of the year? My boys have been asking for watermelon and I tell them to wait until summer.
Seasonal Produce Offers More Nutrition
Produce you buy at a grocery store is usually grown in low quality soil at factory farms. It’s then picked before it’s ripe so it will look better on the shelves and last longer. This produce is still good for you but it will have slightly less nutrients than the same produce picked when ripe.
You Will Know Where Your Food Came From
There is something about knowing who grew your food and that you’re supporting your local community that is also pleasurable. You know that the farmer grew their produce with care, avoiding excessive pesticides or poor growing practices. That feels great.
Local farmers will even be able to tell you what day they picked it, best ways to store it and even give you preparation suggestions.
You Can Be More Creative
OK, for some people it is a forced creativity because they have 2 gallons of strawberries that they need to figure out how to use them before they get too ripe, but the fact is cooking at home is better for everyone and it tastes better. Plus, you can always freeze those strawberries.
We used to order from Bountiful Baskets and would have to get really creative and try new foods we’d never heard of before.
I know it’s not always possible to buy local. I know the pineapples I’ve been eating weren’t grown locally but who can resist fresh pineapple that cost less than two dollars. Not me. Let’s not get started on avocados. No way I’m giving those up.
I regularly tell people to eat as healthy as you can afford. Some may disagree but I understand how difficult it is to get by on a tight budget. We buy most of our produce at Sprout’s Farmers Market because they have excellent and well priced produce.
What are your seasonal favorites? List the season and the food!