Written by Jaz Popa
It’s fall! That means there are a whole new group of fruits and vegetables that are now in season. Seasonal produce are fruits and veggies that are purchased and consumed during the time they are harvested.
There are many benefits to produce that is grown, harvested, bought, and eaten during its peak growing season.
Seasonal produce has better and richer flavor than fresh produce that is out of season. This is because seasonal produce is harvested when it is ripe and grown in optimal conditions. This allows the fruit to develop its richest flavor.
Fresh, seasonal produce also contains more nutrients than out of season fresh produce. Produce that naturally ripens on the plant tends to have more nutrients than when produce is picked before it is ripe. This is because the nutrients do not develop in the flesh of the fruit when it is picked early due to the nutrient supply from the plant being cut off.
But best of all, seasonal produce is cheaper than out of season fresh produce. When fruits and veggies are in season, they are easier to grow. This causes the produce to be more abundant and less per pound than out of season produce in the store. The extra supply of seasonal produce brings its price point down. When you buy fresh, out of season produce, it is also more expensive because it often takes more resources and money to grow it in greenhouses. It can also be more expensive if the produce is grown far away and requires travel to get to you.
Purchasing seasonal produce also help you community. Because this produce is in season, that means is can be grown locally. This supports local farmers and helps boost your local economy and build up your community. This can also benefit the environment because the produce does not have to come from another area. This decreases transportation distance and the greenhouse gas emissions that are associated with all transportation and contribute to climate change.
There are many fruits and veggies that are in season this fall. Some of the most popular ones include
- Sweet potatoes / yams
- Winter squash
Check out this list to see all of the produce that is in season throughout the entire year: https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide
If you need to buy produce that is out of season, try buying it canned or frozen. This produce is harvested and packaged at its peak ripeness, so it will still be delicious and have high nutritional value. It is also cheaper to buy canned or frozen produce rather than that same produce fresh when it is out of season. Just remember to get no sodium or sugar added when buying canned produce.
Buying seasonally can be overwhelming, especially when it means trying new produce. Just take it one step at a time! Slowly start trying new seasonal fruits and veggies and incorporating them into your diet. You’ll be helping yourself and your community!