Most of us know that eating in-season, fresh vegetables and fruit from our kitchen gardens or local markets, is good for you because the food is at its nutritional peak. Japanese researchers found that spinach grown organically in gardens and harvested in season contained three times more vitamin C than spinach grown by artificial means and harvested off-season. It could be reasoned, that other produce would be at their nutritional peak during harvest in-season.
We also know that preparing and cooking produce grown and harvested, following nature’s rhythm of the seasons, give us food that’s a real taste sensation. And it’s important to realise that optimum freshness means optimal nutrients. I remember my first mouthful of a square Italian pizza in Tuscany, topped with summer’s fresh cherry tomatoes and peppery rocket; it was an out-of-this-world, which I’ve never forgotten.
Sadly, buying local, in-season produce isn’t always possible. Depending on where you live, you might not be able to enjoy mangoes, grown in subtropical conditions or raspberries grown in cooler climes. But if you don’t want to cut them from your diet, just adjust to eating the produce when they’re grown in other parts of your country (unless you live in Europe, which is another consideration).
Produce loses its nutrition over time, like food shipped over long distances. Even in-season refrigerated produce will lose some nutrients; after about a week spinach looses half its folate. So if you want the freshest, most nutrient-rich produce, it makes sense to buy locally grown, in-season food.
Eating seasonally is not new. A perusal through many old cookbooks will reveal it’s a time-proven and honoured tradition, worthy of following.