farmed locally, it also benefits the community and local economy. By directly purchasing food this summer from local producers, you can play your part, as well as reap the benefits of eating seasonally. " />
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Why Eating Seasonally Matters

July 17, 2020

Purchasing food in season is not only beneficial to your health and the environment, but when it is farmed locally, it also benefits the community and local economy. By directly purchasing food this summer from local producers, you can play your part. We asked Registered Dietician Olivia Wagner (MS, RDN, LDN) to share the benefits of seasonal produce. 

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  1. Enhanced Nutrition - Locally grown food is fresher!  Most produce in the grocery store is harvested before it’s fully ripe so it can survive to its final destination without spoiling. When produce is picked before it is ripe, nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants do not fully develop in the flesh of the plant. Plants need the sun and nutrients from the soil to fully develop so when you pick produce before it is fully ripe, it cuts this nutrient availability short! Additionally, air, artificial lights and temperature changes during transport lower a food’s nutritional value. With local food choices, the transport distances are much shorter and there is less exposure to chemicals, gasses or waxes used to preserve food for long-distance transport. Because of the decreased transport time associated with local foods, locally grown food can be picked at its peak ripeness, when it is most dense with nutrients. 
     
  2. Increased Plant Diversity - If you aim to purchase produce seasonally, you are likely to consume a broader variety of foods over the course of the year based on what is available at the time. Plant diversity is important for receiving a variety of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and plant nutrients!  Research shows that plan diversity is particularly important for sustaining a healthy gut microbiome.  
     
  3. Cost Efficient - Supply and demand simply explains how buying produce seasonally saves money. Produce in season is more abundant, so it is less per pound in the store. If you are buying produce that is out of season, there is travel, time and added expenses to grow it in a greenhouse.
     
  4. Environmentally Friendly - As we truck in produce from other areas, it requires gas to get the produce to the store. This fuel charge is something often added to the price of the food upon delivery, not to mention what this does to the carbon footprint.
  5. Community Benefit - Buying your produce from local farmer’s markets and Community Supported Agricultures (CSA) is a great way to build community, but also allows you to feel more connected to where your food is coming from and who is growing it. In developing relationships with the vendors one can better understand how far their food has traveled and the growing process endured!

  6. Richer flavor - Produce that is picked when it’s fully ripened tastes amazing. If your produce is coming from across the US or another country, it is picked before it’s ripe. As it travels to your local grocery store, it ripens in a cardboard box, often after being sprayed by chemicals to prevent it from ripening too quickly.

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