I was reading an article in one of the [many] newsletters that I subscribe to about eating in season. We see this phrase associated with multiple topic areas including nutrition, economy, and environment.
Eating seasonally refers to eating those fruits and vegetables that can be obtained locally for the current season. This is largely tied to the climate and soil conditions of the area in which you live.
From an environmental standpoint, this is friendly because we avoid the carbon damage associated with shipping the produce from point to point.
From a nutrition standpoint, this is better for a number of reasons. The produce is not harvested too early to allow for the transport time, generally making it more nutritious because it can be harvested at the peak of it’s nutrition value. Purchasing local produce also eliminates the risk that the produce has been irradiated due to crossing a country or state border.
Eating seasonally is also economically beneficial because it helps local farmers to prosper … and then they can provide us with even more great local produce!
I am fortunate to live in Texas where the growing season is longer due to warmer climates and we usually have relatively mild winters. I found a chart by the Texas Department of Agriculture that listed almost 50 types of produce that are grown within the state of Texas. Some of them are available year-round like turnips, greenhouse tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, green cabbage, and many herbs. Other types are available more than 6 months of the year like peppers, peas, cucumbers, lettuce, watermelon, and multiple varieties of squash.
Sadly absent from this list are a few of my favorite foods! I love avocados, mango, and pineapple. Maybe that suggests that I should be living a bit farther South? I will probably still purchase those fruits but try to offset any environmental or nutritional damage by purchasing many of the other fruits and vegetables I eat locally as much as possible.