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If you’re in any of the colder regions of North America like our editorial team currently based in Toronto, a wide variety of fresh, local food isn’t always accessible as it is May through October. That’s why summer is such a magical food season and one we never take for granted. But whether you have access to producer markets all year long on the sunny West Coast or down south, or you’re relying on indoor markets in the northeast (which are booming in Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, by the way!), there are so many compelling reasons to eat seasonal and local as often as possible and all year long. Here’s why:
1. It’s Better for our Planet
Buying your meat, dairy, eggs and produce from local farmers means it didn’t have to travel great distances before arriving on your table, reducing the fuel, energy and time it spent on trucks, planes and in warehouses before finally reaching your local supermarket. Going local is a solid first step in reducing your carbon footprint – a very, very good thing. Plus, local farms preserve outdoor space and fertile soil, ideal for communities.
2. It’s Cheaper
It's the concept of supply and demand: The more of a particular food growing, the faster it needs to unload before it spoils, therefore the cheaper it is! If you’re buying strawberries in the dead of winter, you’re going to pay a premium for shipping them here from other countries and they won't taste like much. Shopping in season will significantly slash your grocery bill and enrich your eating experience. Which leads me to my next point…
See also What is Clean Eating?
3. It Tastes Better!
Food always tastes best when it’s picked at its peak and sold within days. Often, food traveling long and far is picked prematurely and then refrigerated to prevent spoiling. Fruit and vegetables that are picked before they ripen and chilled for transport never reach their potential for amazing, flavor-explosion juiciness.
4. You’ll Never Get Bored
Eating with the seasons is how nature intended us to nourish ourselves. It’s no accident that root veggies and potatoes are seasonal in the winter months when our bodies need warmth and substance, and lighter veggies like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and watermelon are in abundance in summer to enjoy raw and keep us cool. The best perk about eating this way is that every season brings a new crop of clean eats, so you never tire of or overdo certain foods.
See also 10 Reasons to Eat Clean.
5. It’s More Nutritious
Remember that harvested-early point I made above? Not only does it affect flavor, but it also results in a less nutritious fruit or vegetable because the nutrients haven’t had a chance to fully develop through the ripening process. Not to mention the preservatives often sprayed on far-traveling food so it lasts the trek.
See also What is Organic Farming, Really?
6. It’s Great for Your Community
When you buy from local farmers, you eliminate the middleman, which means neighboring farm families keep more in their pocket, leading to a thriving community and local farms in your area for years to come. It’s also relationship building! Not only good for making friends (yay friends!) but for learning about seasonality, nature, farming and agriculture.