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In many countries, especially poorer ones, people tend to eat foods in a season mostly. Often choosing fruits and vegetables this way is cheaper than eating out of season. Part of the reason is that it is usually grown locally and delivered to the store soon after being harvested. Out of season, food has either been stored for long periods or has been imported. Both increase costs, meaning you pay a higher price.
These days, we are accustomed to buying whatever we want, whenever we want, whether it is in season or not. We are so out of touch with the true nature of food that many people do not realize that certain foods only grow in certain seasons. Getting back to the natural order of things has many benefits.
The first benefit is cost. When strawberries are growing in abundance, buying them in the summer will cost a small fraction of buying them in the depth of winter when they are imported from the other side of the world. Flying strawberries, and other produce, into the US from overseas is expensive. Only buy food that is in season, and you will save a small fortune. We have seen strawberries for sale in summer for as little as $1 per package, while in winter, the same amount can cost $5-10. We have seen similar price differences with lots of other produce.
But it is not all about money. Buying fruit in season usually means it is fresher and has a higher nutritional content. Produce grown in the US can be shipped to the store in a matter of hours, while produce shipped from the other side of the world can take days or weeks. The crop is usually harvested before it is ripe, as that is the only way to stop it from spoiling while in transit. Unripe produce tends not to ripen much, if at all, after harvesting, so the nutritional value is usually lower. Some produce also has chemicals pumped into it to ripen it artificially. We are sure everyone would agree that produce that is picked when naturally ripe tastes so much better than the produce you often get at big stores that are not quite ripe.
A further advantage of buying produce in season is that you will get more variety in your diet. Most people tend to stick to eating the same foods all year round. If they only bought fresh produce in season, they would have to try different foods that they would not usually consider. Our bodies need a variety of nutrients, and the best way to get them is to eat a wide range of foods. Unfortunately, it is often the opposite of what most people do these days. Instead, they tend to buy the same meals week in, week out, all year round.
Instead of complaining that your favorite food keeps going up in price, take a closer look at all the other produce in-store. While out of season, produce will be going up in price, the crop coming into the season will be going down in price.
There is also one additional benefit that we rarely hear mentioned. And that is that nature knows best. In most Western hemispheres, soft fruits and salads are in abundance during the summer months, while root vegetables and hard fruits are in plenteous in the winter months. During the summer, we need lighter food, and this is what nature provides. But during the winter months, when it can get frigid, we need to keep warm, and the denser nutrients in root vegetables are ideal for this. Who does not enjoy a hearty root vegetable soup on a cold winter’s day? That is nature in action, providing what we need the most.
We are not saying you need to deprive yourself of your favorite food when it is out of season, as you can still treat yourself. But if you want to save some money, have more variety in your diet, and eat the foods with the best nutrient profiles. And, then make sure you stick mostly to produce that is in season.