Did you know one of the best ways to practice sustainability is to eat seasonally? It’s true! Eating seasonally can significantly lower your personal carbon footprint. But what does eating seasonally mean? In simple terms, eating seasonally is consuming food when it has reached peak growth in its growing season. Let's talk about why and how you should start eating seasonal foods.
Why You Should Buy In-Season Produce
1) The first reason is they just taste better! Compare a strawberry you bought from a fruit stand in the middle of July to the strawberry you bought in the middle of December. Which one tasted fresher? I think we would all say the summer strawberry. It seems intuitive that strawberries are meant to be grown and eaten in summer, yet we still continue to buy them in winter!
2) Not only is fresh produce tastier, it is also far more nutritious. The longer it takes for a food to reach the table, the more nutrients it loses.
3) Seasonal eating is a great way to support your local community and farmers. Instead of buying food that needs to be driven cross-country, emitting large amounts of CO2, buy produce from vendors in your hometown. You will be engaging in your local community as well as reducing your carbon footprint.
How to Buy Seasonal Food
The easiest way to buy seasonally is to visit your local farmers market. Talk to the vendors and observe what they’re selling, it will be your best guide. You can also consult the U.S. Department of Agriculture Seasonal Produce Guide. Use this to plan out your weekly meals and go to the grocery store with a list in mind. Look for Community Supported Agriculture programs and if you’re dining out, try to find restaurants advertising seasonal ingredients or connections to local farms.
Eating seasonally is much easier than you think. Once you learn what’s in season, buying seasonal produce will become second nature. If you’re still craving tomatoes and fruit in winter, buy them when they’re in season and then freeze or dehydrate them for later use. Take the opportunity to challenge yourself and get creative. If you’re curious about what WE like to eat in fall, check out our Fall Garden Guide for inspiration!