By Anne Custer
Eating seasonally is simply eating fruits and vegetables that are naturally grown at that time. By not eating in season, we are consuming foods that have likely been genetically modified to grow in a time they were not created to be. We are missing out on all the benefits in eating season has such as improved health, environment, and economic outcomes.
Buying in season means the food is at the peak of its freshness and holds the most nutritional value. Take blueberries for example. They are available right now in the dead of winter, but late summer is when they are the freshest and juiciest. Buying a carton of blueberries now means they were artificially created to grow in conditions not typically supported by a blueberry grown in the summer. The environment where produce is grown can greatly alter nutritive value. A research study found that spinach grown during winter (out of season) versus spinach grown during summer (in season) had less nutritional value. Specifically, Vitamin K levels were significantly depleted in the spinach grown out of season. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, they recognize the healing power of food and eat according to this belief. Nature provides us the healing food we need during each season. For example, during the spring, it is considered a time of cleansing. The liver is a prime detoxification organ and spring is when bitter greens, which support liver health, are naturally grown. For your health, eat foods in season. Fresh foods help support our body’s natural cleansing ability and encourage optimal health.
Growing foods out of season considerably affects the environment as well. The seasons offer the Earth the natural diversity of different resources including harvesting conditions for food. This essential balance is something we should be aware of and take into consideration while at the grocery store. By producing foods year round, we are depleting the Earth of its natural resources and increasing pollution. It takes lots of fuel to deliver Florida Oranges to a grocery store in New York. These delivery methods increases the time from farm to table, leading to shorter shelf life and dwindling resources. In addition, the means to grow year round are not sustainable. The use of pesticides and the lack of protection of soil fertility do not provide a healthy environment for produce to grow and flourish.
The best excuse for cheap college kids to buy in season is the low-cost that comes with eating seasonally. Seasonal foods are priced more reasonably because of the few resources it takes to naturally harvest them. Foods are naturally and readily available while in the season they are supposed to be grown. Out of season is more expensive because of the cost of travel and means to artificially produce fruits and vegetables. Because in season is cheaper to produce, they are cheaper to buy!
Use this link to search foods in season and farmer’s markets in your hometown! The chart below gives a brief overview of fruits and veggies naturally grown in each month. Some great produce you can buy this month is kale, Brussel sprouts, carrots, and kiwi!