Healthy Beginnings

What’s in Season: Need a Reason to Eat in Season? Do It for the Health of It!

By Denise Clodjeaux

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But first, what is seasonal eating? Simply put, it’s focusing your diet around what’s in season in your area. You might think it’s part of the latest food trend, but seasonal eating has been around for centuries. Think about it, what did people eat before modern transportation and hi-tech greenhouses? They ate what they could grow in their local climate during certain seasons. Makes sense, doesn’t it? So, let’s talk about other reasons to eat in season.

One of the best reasons is simple. In-season fruits and vegetables just taste better. Think about it, who doesn’t love a crisp, fall apple? How about tender asparagus in the spring, a flavorful tomato in the heat of summer or comforting squash in the fall? There’s a reason those grocery store tomatoes are so tasteless over the winter. They are out of season! Produce picked in season at its peak is always tastier.

Seasonal eating can be good for your health. Practitioners of holistic and Chinese medicine believe that eating seasonal food keeps us in harmony with nature. While those medicinal practices have evolved over the centuries, their philosophies of eating with the seasons have remained. Practitioners say seasonal eating boosts the immune system and helps ward o disease such as u in the winter and colds during the transition to spring. Seasonal eating also increases the variety of foods in your diet as the foods change through the seasons of the year.

Your financial health is another good reason for seasonal eating. It’s a fact, eating in-season fruits and vegetables will save you money. Seasonal produce is usually abundantly available, and that translates to lower prices. Out of season produce is usually priced higher because of the cost to grow it, as well as transporting it to your local store. Those out-of-season fruits from Mexico and South America generally come at a steep price.

Seasonal eating bene ts the health of your community. When you buy local, seasonal food, the money stays in your community. Even better, buy your produce at a local farmers market or food co-op. Then, most, if not all, of your money goes to the farmer who grew the crop. And you help cut down on the environmental impact of shipping food hundreds – if not thousands – of miles.

One way to ensure you are eating seasonally (and locally) is to join a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. Many farms and food hubs o er baskets filled with fresh produce, dairy, eggs and even meat delivered to your home or a central pick up location on a regular basis. You’ll find a list of CSAs in your area on the NevadaGrown website at: http://NevadaGrown.com/category/csa/. You’ll also find a comprehensive seasonal produce chart on the site.

Another way to learn about and enjoy seasonal eating is to become a regular at your local farmers market. You’ll nd a wide variety of in-season produce, and you can meet the farmers who grow your food. It’s a powerful connection! Who knows, you might discover that a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried before is now a new favorite.

One thing to keep in mind, seasonal eating doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. It’s more about being mindful when purchasing food and making the best choices for your physical and financial well-being and the health of your community.