As night time temperatures begin to drop, with Labor Day behind us and children back in school, it becomes harder to deny summer is giving way to fall. With the transition of the season we will see the last of the locally grown sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and berries. Summer produce will be replaced with a fall harvest of squash, arugula, beets and carrots. Peach sundaes will be replaced with caramel apples and pumpkin pies.
There are many reasons why our meals should reflect the season for which we are living. Here are 5 simple ones.
- Nutrition: Freshly picked produce has higher levels of antioxidants. The farther away food is produced the earlier it is picked, often left to ripen in crates instead of on the vine. The more exposure to sun light our produce has, the more nutrients it will pass on to the consumer. Studies even show that milk has higher levels of iodine and beta-carotene in the summer when cows have more exposure to sunlight.
- Flavor: If you have ever had the opportunity to pick a homegrown tomato or sugar snap pea off the vine no explanation is needed here. Locally grown and fully ripen produce have more flavor, fragrance, juice and are more colorful then their less fresh counterparts.
- Economics: Prices are lower when supply is high. Watermelon and corn cost less in the summer when there is an abundance in local fields. There is more competition to sell goods when they are in season and when the cost does not have to reflect transport from Peru.
- Environment: Seasonal foods are more likely to be grown close to home, which means less transportation cost and less carbon footprint on the environment. Eating seasonally also requires less pesticides to keep food looking fresh on its way to market. Using less pesticides helps to protect the earth and all its creatures for future generations to come. Eating organic is the safest way to keep potentially harmful chemicals out of your families digestive system. https://www.produceretailer.com/article/news-article/2019-dirty-dozen-and-clean-15-lists-released
- Community: By eating with the seasons you are often supporting the local farmers in your community. Most large chain grocery stores sell locally grown produce when it is in season. You can also get to know your local farming community by purchasing your produce directly from the farm through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or at a local farmers market.
Check out this link to see what fruits and vegetables are in season this fall in Ohio:
Local farm markets in the Miami Valley: