Nutrients come from soil through the stem of a living plant and once ripe, a fruit or vegetable is at its height of nutrient value. Nutrient value also decreases every day past harvest. Fruits and vegetables that are in season in far away lands are usually picked before ripeness in order to withstand the thousands of miles and days to get to our local markets.
By purchasing local foods, in season, you are thus able to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh and more highly nutritious fruits and vegetables while eliminating the environmental damage of shipping foods thousands of miles. Buying seasonally is also more cost-efficient as it is often cheaper to purchase foods grown and shipped locally.In addition, you are able to try a variety of new foods and recipes not tried before when focusing on the current season’s produce.
When questioning what foods work best for the environment, always choose the best possible option.When able, SOUL food or a combination of seasonal, organic, unadulterated or local is best.When having to select between local or organic, ask your vendor if the food is pesticide or hormone free. Often, the food may be unadulterated, but may not have gone through the lengthy and often expensive process of being stamped organic by the USDA.
Always consider the miles travelled for your own and the planet’s health and when in doubt, shop and talk with your local farmer at farmer’s markets. Being aware of your options and making the best possible choice is in itself, eco-conscious. Visit the Local Harvest website to find a farmer’s market near you.
Photo Credit: Jun Belen