Eating Produce at the Peak of its Season
Planting season is upon us in Indiana and local farmers and home gardeners are loading up for a season of fresh vegetable bounty. Taking advantage of all this fresh, local produce from farmers markets and farm share programs through seasonal eating is very important for many reasons.
1. You are getting the freshest produce available.
Fresh produce simply tastes better than produce that has been setting in shipping containers for two weeks. The best proof of this is a fresh, homegrown tomato that is still warm from the sun. There is no comparison in taste versus the "globe" tomatoes available in the grocery store. Try a slice on a burger during an August cookout and taste the difference. Corn is another example of a vegetable that tastes best fresh. Freshly picked ears contain kernels of milky liquid. This sweet goodness turns to starch within a week, which is mostly what you find at the grocery store.
2. Fresh produce is consumed at its most nutritious point.
Vital nutrients are lost shortly after picking most produce. For example, vegetables can lose 15% to 55% of vitamin C within a week. Some spinach can lose up to 90% in 24 hours.
3. You are supporting your local economy.
Supporting local business is a great way to positively contribute to your community; it helps create jobs and maintain a higher standard of living. You also help your local community and the environment when you link your eating habits to the changing seasons.
4. You are reducing your carbon footprint.
Consuming produce that has been shipped thousands of miles is not environmentally friendly.
5. You are saving money.
Produce picked at its peak, when supply is greatest, will cost less to the consumer.