Why is it important to eat food that’s in season?
Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than food consumed out of season. Even though we all like to eat strawberries year round, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower shortly after harvest. Seasonal fruits and vegetables produced on local farms are often fresher, as they do not require long distances for transport. Also, unlike out of season produce which is harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store, crops picked at their peak of ripeness are also better tasting and full of flavor. What’s more, studies have shown that fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients when allowed to ripen naturally on their parent plant.
Why is eating local food important?
• Local food benefits the environment. Purchasing locally grown foods helps support local farms and maintains farmland and open space in your community. A recent USDA study also found that direct-to-consumer producers were less likely to apply pesticides and herbicides to control weeds and insects than conventional producers (with the exception of chemicals to control insects and weeds in fruit, nut and berry crops).
• Local food supports the local economy. The money you spend on products from local farmers and growers stays in the community and is reinvested with other local businesses. In addition, food grown locally, processed locally and distributed locally (for example, to local restaurants) generates jobs and subsequently helps stimulate local economies.
• Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. When you buy directly from farmers, you have the opportunity to ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about your food
Where can I find recipes for the local, seasonal produce on this site?
You can find lots of wonderful recipes for even the most obscure local and seasonal produce in our Real Food Right Now series.
Where can I buy local, seasonal produce in my state?
Most of the produce included in the Seasonal Food Guide can be found at your local farmers’ market, through local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)programs operating in your area and at restaurants and businesses committed to seasonal, local food.
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