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Eating locally and seasonally is better for you and your wallet.

One of the “secrets” to centenarians longevity is consuming food that is produced locally and seasonally. Centenarian is a person who lives to or beyond the age of 100 years. I have witnessed this traveling and studying different cultures and centenarians around the world.

Eating “seasonally” means including foods in your diet that are grown at the same time of the year you eat them. For example, that means squash in the summer and fall, and artichokes in the spring.

Reasons to Eat Seasonally and Locally

1. Nutritional peak

Local and Freshly picked fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are at their nutritional peak.

Fruits and vegetables from the supermarket pale (in color and nutrient density) in comparison to the colorful produce picked fresh and locally at your local farmer’s market. Your fruits and vegetables should have intense color and recognizable smell.

Locally, seasonal and sustainably grown foods, especially raw or non-processed, contain higher levels of beta carotene, vitamins C, D and E, health-promoting polyphenols, cancer-fighting antioxidants, flavonoids that help ward off heart disease, essential fatty acids, and essential minerals.

For tomatoes, it takes about 45-55 days for the fruit to reach full maturity. After which, it starts to undergo the ripening process. The production of ethylene within the fruit in turn signals the activity of different enzymes resulting in physiological changes such as change of color from green to red, softening of the fruit, and development of its distinct taste and aroma.

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Conventionally, tomatoes are picked well before they are ripe (tomatoes are picked while still green) and are then ripened artificially.

The ripening process is then induced by spraying the fruits or vegetables with ethylene gas when they reach their destination. Artificial ethylene gas pose some serious risks. For long hauls, fruits and vegetables are refrigerated to prevent damage and delay ripening.

However, there are drawbacks to these post harvest practices. Fruits that have been harvested prematurely may result in poor taste and quality despite appearing as fully ripened ones. Fruits transported for long periods under refrigeration also have the tendency to lose their quality.

2. Variety of fruits and vegetables

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is both tasty and nutritious. You’ll find more variety at your local farmer’s market. Different fruits and vegetables provide different source of micronutrients which are your vitamins and minerals. You can try new fruits and vegetables before purchasing them.

3. Tastes better

Test for yourself. Pick a perfect looking tomato at a supermarket and compare it to an heirloom tomato. First of all, all the tomatoes at the supermarket may have consistent shape, size and color. The heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market will all have very different shapes, size and color. The heirloom tomato may look “ugly” but it is jam packed with vital nutrients. You may pick like-for-like kind of tomatoes to keep the comparison fair. Go ahead; pick cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes when in season. Pick some from the supermarket. Pick some from a farmer at your local farmer’s market that practices sustainably, locally and in season. In season because, although you may find it at the supermarket, it will not be available at the farmer’s market. Go ahead compare the color and taste against each other. You’ll see why a chef worth their dime, prefer and shop at their local farmer’s market. Fruits and vegetables from farmer who practice sustainably almost always taste better. It is picked at the peak of ripeness when nutrient and taste is at its highest value point.

The food is grown closer to you so it doesn’t spoil on its trip, it’s harvested at the peak of its season, and sold during its season, before it spoils. Ideally, this means you’re getting fruits and vegetables that haven’t had time to lose their flavor or their health benefits by sitting in a shipping container for a trip across the ocean.

4. Non-industrial

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Industrial commercialized factory farms grow massive amounts of fruits and vegetables. Their produce is shipped all over the world.

Mega corporations and not your local farmer run these industrial farms. They drive local family farms out of business.

They practice mono cropping where a single field only grows one type of fruits or vegetables. This is to keep the operation efficient. Mono cropping, also known as monoculture, sap the soil of essential nutrients, leaving it barren and unplantable.

It leaves the produce susceptible to disease and pests.

In general, industrial commercialized farming (both conventional and organic) is hard on the land. It depletes the soil of nutrients, uses industrial chemical fertilizers and/or pesticides, most likely uses genetically modified organism and utilizes unsustainable practices that are not environmentally friendly over the long-term.

5. Affordable

For the sheer nutrition you get from farmers market produce compared to supermarket produce, it’s a really good value.

Supermarkets tend to charge an arm and a leg for organic fruits and vegetables. At the farmer’s market, however, they are typically not much more expensive than conventionally grown produce. The benefits to your health are likely to save you money over the long run on healthcare expenses.

Persimmons are sold at $2.5/lb at the farmer’s market where at the grocery store, you can pay as much as $3.99/lb and sometimes $3/fruit.

Cost per calories on real food is more than refined grains, sugar and vegetable oils. Cost per calories is reasonable measure to gauge since calories are the one thing all food has in common. And we all need about 2000 calories every day to operate. Vegetables and fruits and unrefined real food cost more on average than nutrition sparse source of calories such as refined grains, sugar and vegetable oils.

Calories have different value and result depending on source.

One gives you nourishment while the other gives you empty calories at best. One gives you sustainable fuel for your body while the other gives you cheap fuel that is devoid of valuable nutrients, burns fast leaving the body craving for nourishment and hungry for more.

When you buy what’s in season, you buy food that’s at the peak of its supply, and costs less to farmers and distribution companies to harvest and get to your grocery store.

The food is grown closer to you so it doesn’t spoil on its trip, it’s harvested at the peak of its season, and sold during its season, before it spoils. Ideally, this means you’re getting fruits and vegetables that haven’t had time to lose their flavor or their health benefits by sitting in a shipping container for a trip across the ocean.

Out of season produce have to be shipped from around the world to get to you, usually picked before the peak of their flavor in order to survive the long trip (or be allowed to mature while they travel) to your local grocery store. As a result, they’re much more expensive because of the time, the distance, and the sheer number of people involved with getting those food items to you that need to be paid.

6. Conserves fuel

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Farmers who practice sustainably at the farmer’s market don’t have to travel as far to get you fresh, local and in season produce. The produce at the farmer’s market is sold that day in the open air not requiring refrigeration or heating. This reduces the use of fossil fuel tremendously. This compared to produce that travels hundreds or thousands of miles many times from outside the state and out of the country to get to the supermarket and grocery store. There is a tremendous amount of energy used on fossil fuel, refrigeration in trucks, rail cars and grocery store.

7. Support your local farmers and economy

In supporting your health, you get to help smaller farmers to continue producing nutritionally dense and delicious food for you and your family. In turn you get to save a farmland in your area and support the ecosystem of the area by encouraging sustainable practices on the field that in turn drives the growth of local businesses and jobs and increase healthy food access to the community. This is a win-win for everyone.

The Economic Research Service provides an overview of the economic impact of local food systems.

8. Great way to get your kids involved

Make your life that much easier by having your kids shop for you. They’ll be eager to choose the fruits and vegetables and more likely to eat them.

Allow your kids to help you pick the fruits and vegetables. Then allow them to help you in the kitchen even if it turns into a mess. Chances are that they’ll consume what they pick and help make.

9. Catch up and socialize with friends and neighbors

while shopping for nutrient dense, tasty, local and seasonally grown produce. All the while supporting your community.

These are not actors. They are real people and real moments.

10. Know the source of your food/Meet your local farmers

Have a connection with your Farmer/Rancher/artisan. When you shop at the farmer’s market, you know where your food came from. Talk to the farmer or the farm stand worker to learn about the farm’s growing and processing practices. Ask if you could visit the farms to see how they grow and handle the produce you are serving to your family. This is a great way to get your kids engaged with where their food comes from. Many kids think that their fruits and vegetables are grown in the supermarket.

11. Learn an easy way to cook something new

Ask the farmer to share with you their recommendations for consuming or cooking their products. They will give you simple techniques that bring out the flavor of the food.

12. On Food Stamp?

Golden Advantage card, SNAP and WIC benefits may be accepted at some farmers markets. Learn About SNAP Benefits at Farmers Markets and find out which WIC state agencies participate in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

13. Farmers markets are easy to find

Use the USDA Farmers Markets Search to find one near you. Due to their flexible locations, some community farmers markets provide fresh, healthy foods when other sources aren’t as easily accessed. Learn more about how the USDA helps to expand healthy food access through the development of local food systems.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

You could also shop locally and seasonally from a CSA. Find a local CSA.

A CSA is a farm or network/association of multiple farms that offers consumers regular (usually weekly) deliveries of locally-grown farm products during one or more harvest season(s) on a subscription or membership basis. It is basically a farm share.

I shop at my local farmer’s market on Sundays. I use a CSA and schedule the delivery mid week.  This way, I am keeping a fresh stock of fruits and vegetables.

Many CSAs are diversified and include non-produce products including eggs, meat, flowers, honey, dairy and soaps.

Shares (products) are most often distributed weekly.

Most CSAs allow share pick up at the farm.

Shares are also distributed through regional drop off, direct home or office drop off, farmers markets, and community center/ church drop off.

Benefits of CSA:

  • Locally grown fresh and seasonal produce
  • Relationship with the farmer
  • Save money
  • Save time. What you give up in choice, you definitely gain in convenience. Picking up a box simply takes less time that going to the farmers market or choosing, bagging, and paying for produce at the store.
  • Supporting local farmers

You don’t have to be married to a preselected box.

This is what I useFarmFreshToYou.com *

Use code:CARZ5379 to receive $15 off first order

It delivers organic fruits, vegetables, local goods & artisan products fresh from the field/rancher/producer to my door.

You can customize your box. You can choose (& change) the size and type of box that works for you. You can even skip deliveries or change your delivery frequency to fit your schedule.

* I earn a small commission if you use the link in this article to purchase the products I mentioned. I only recommend products I would use myself or that I use with my clients. Your purchase helps support this site and my ongoing research.

It pays (nutritionally, financially and socially) to shop locally and seasonally.

Can you think of other reasons for eating locally and organically? Share your comments below.

Leave your thoughts and ideas directly in the comment section below. Remember, share as much detail as possible in your reply. Your comments may provide insight and inspiration and your experience may help someone else have a meaningful breakthrough. Links to other posts, videos, etc. will be deleted as they come across as spammy.
Thank you as always, for watching, sharing and allowing me to be a part of your world. It’s a true honor.
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To Your Health,

Caroline

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About Caroline

My vision is to empower you to achieve your optimal health and lead a healthy life through awareness and education. It is to bring you simple, delicious, nutritionally dense foods and easy recipes that support the wellness of your mind, body and soul. My goal is to teach the effective principles and practices of our ancestors in a modern context forliving a vibrant life.

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