What does Local and Seasonal mean?
It’s more than just eating organic; knowing where and when your food was grown could provide additional health benefits. Local or locally grown food comes from areas near where you live, although there isn’t a set distance defining that. It generally refers to what country and/or state you live in. Seasonal food grows in abundance during it’s peak when its harvest and flavor is at its best. The reason we have access to many fruits and vegetables year round is because they, are picked early on before it’s ripe and transported from other regions where the particular food is in season. Although it is great to eat a variety of foods, there are benefits to eating local and seasonal produce.
Benefits of Local and Seasonal Food
- Optimal absorption of nutrients
- You know where your food is coming from and if it aligns with your standards
- Usually more cost effective since it’s growing in abundance
- Supports farmers in your area and helps the local economy to thrive
- Less energy is used when food is not being transported long distances
- Handled by less people which lowers the risk of contamination
During the year you get the opportunity to nourish your body with what it needs based off the seasons conditions. Each season is unique depending on the region and your body requires different needs based on that and time of the year. Below is a general list of what fruits and vegetables grow during the seasons. For a specific list of seasonal foods in your region visit this site.
The Spring time encourages the body to detox from a long and cold winter. Many fruits and vegetables that grow during this time support the liver, which is known to aid in detoxification.
- Dandelion Greens
Summer could be hot and humid. During this time it best to have fruits and vegetables that are light and will cool down the body.
- Bell Peppers
Fall is a time to focus on grounding and preparing for the big change that Winter brings. Many of the fruits and vegetables that grow during this time contain a high content of Vitamin C which boosts the immune system.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brussels Sprout
Winter is naturally cold and dry. Produce during this time tends to be heavy and help warm up the body.
- Winter Squash
How to Shop Local and Seasonal
The best places to find these foods is at the farmer’s market. This allows you to meet the farmer or those who work with them. They can give you information on how the food is grown and answer questions. Don’t worry if there isn’t a farmer’s market near you, locally owned and natural grocery stores are another great source of fresh seasonal foods. Some restaurants even offer seasonal menu’s and/or local produce, these are often advertised at Farm-To-Table. These places typically want you to know that they offer seasonal options and will most often explain that on their menu or website.
Growing Your Own Food
Another great alternative is growing your own food. Even if you choose one thing, that’s a great start. This option can be both cost effective and fufilling. If you have acsess to create a small backyard graden you can start growing some fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and berries. Even if you don’t have outdoor space, you can start an herb garden indoors and grow oregano, basil, cilantro and more.
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