People are often surprised when they first bite into a piece of fruit from their local organic farmers market. Supermarkets may be able to provide a wider variety of fruit and vegetables all year round, but nothing can beat the taste of in-season produce.
Flavour isn’t the only advantage of eating local produce while it’s in season. Importing and storing fruit and vegetables is an expense that is passed onto the consumer and the environment. On the other hand, when you buy fresh produce you’re getting more nutrients for your money, and your custom helps local growers build a sustainable food industry.
The health benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables have been consistently proven. Health experts say that adults should aim to get at least five servings of vegetables per day and consume at least two servings of fruit. Most adults and a worrying number of children don’t meet these recommended guidelines.
If you’re trying to include more fruit and vegetables in your diet, eating in-season produce is a good place to start. In-season produce is generally more colourful and more flavoursome.
Growing your own vegetables or visiting a growers market also gives you a connection to your food that you don’t get from prepackaged produce from the supermarket. If you’ve grown the food, or met the farmer, you’re less likely to let that produce rot away uneaten in the bottom of your vegetable basket.
Sourcing in-season produce is an ideal way to introduce new fruits and vegetables to kids. Visit a local market and get them to choose new fruits they want to try. Over time they’ll get to know which fruits and vegetables are in-season and get excited when their favourites come out.
Produce which has travelled halfway around the world, or even halfway across the country, use a lot of energy, which means a lot of greenhouse gas is being produced. Packing, storing and moving produce comes at a cost, but the refrigeration process also affects the colour, taste, and nutrient content of food. In short, you’re better off eating local produce when it’s in season.
To prevent produce from rotting during transit, much of it is picked before it is ripe. This early harvesting affects the flavour and colour, which is why the winter tomato is paler, less nutritious, and less flavoursome than the summer tomato.
Summer vegetables include:
Enjoy summer fruits just as they are, or take up the challenge with this Apricot, Almond and Honey Cake recipe. If you’re wanting something lighter, use fresh berries to make this low calorie Raspberry Mousse Cake with Summer Berries.