seasonal eating

Seasonal Eating — What are the Benefits?

Modern life has given us the luxury of eating whatever foods we’d like at any time of the year. Food is shipped thousands of miles from vastly different climates before ending up on our dinner plate. Our early ancestors would be astounded by the selection of produce available to us in today’s supermarkets!

If you love cake topped with mounds of fresh berries, but your birthday is in January, then this marvel of modern food sourcing is something to celebrate. However, it’s important to consider this question: Are there advantages to letting nature take the lead when it comes to our eating? Absolutely! Seasonal eating has so many benefits.

Advantages of Eating in Season

  1. Taste: When produce isn’t in season locally, it’s often shipped long distances. This means your fruits and veggies are harvested well before they are fully ripened. This results in a loss of flavor and moisture. When it comes to produce, a long shelf life usually has a negative impact when it comes to taste.
  2. Environment:
    Transporting food long distances takes its toll on our environment. Planes, trains, and automobiles contribute significantly to greenhouse gas production. By switching over to eating in-season, local produce, you make an impact in reducing your personal carbon footprint.
  3. Health:
    Produce loses nutrients quickly after harvesting. Thus, reducing the time between when fruits and vegetable are picked and when they are consumed allows your body to gain the greatest nutritional advantage. 
  4. Cost:
    When produce is in season locally, it’s going to cost less for the simple fact that there is so much of it available. So eating in season is a great way to stretch your food budget as far as it can go, while still eating healthfully.

Strategies for Seasonal Eating

seasonal eating
courtesy of American Heart Association

What are some strategies we recommend? Well, for one, notice which items at your supermarket are labeled local, and challenge yourself to buy as much local, in-season produce as you can. If you’re faced with ingredients you don’t know how to cook, don’t despair! Scour recipe books and websites to find ways to expand your culinary comfort zone.

Another great place to find fantastic, in-season produce is by checking out your local farms. Many sell produce at local farmers markets, and may even offer CSA programs. We’re fans of Full Circle farms for their dirt-to-door organic produce delivery. Finally, consider growing your own. Eating food that you’ve grown yourself is so satisfying!

At Honest to Goodness, we get excited for blackberry season in August, pumpkin season in October, and kale season in May. It gives us a chance to miss cooking with (and eating) certain foods, and then rediscovering them all over again next year! Eating in-season can lead us all to try a wider variety of foods. This is good for our health and a really easy form of self-care.