Why cooking seasonally isn’t just a health fad

There was a time in the not too distant past when we ate artichokes and asparagus in the spring and cabbage and cauliflower in the fall because, well, that’s when they were grown and available.

But these days, thanks to technology and global distribution, we’re able to eat virtually anything we want when we want. Nevertheless, health experts and chefs believe it’s still better to eat seasonally – in other words, eat what’s available in your area when it’s actually in season. Here’s why:

Cooking seasonally saves you money: Fruits and vegetables grown near you didn’t have to travel very far to get to your supermarket or farmer’s market, so they’re significantly cheaper than produce that traveled thousands of miles.

Cooking seasonally is tastier: Foods cultivated in your area can be harvested near their peak and are less likely to spoil before they end up on your plate. Local fruits and vegetables are also less likely to have lost their flavor or vitamin and mineral content so they’re healthier too.

Cooking seasonally is more responsible: Buying local doesn’t necessarily mean the food wasn’t picked by a big food grower or distribution company or that it wasn’t stored in a massive warehouse on the way to your table. But cooking and eating seasonal produce does make it more likely that you’re supporting local farmers and businesses.

Cooking seasonally provides variety: We’ve all gotten used to not thinking much about what we buy and, for instance, simply eating potatoes or tomatoes every day because they’re always available at the supermarket. But variety truly is the spice of life and eating seasonally means teasing our palate with a wider variety of foods all year long.

But, cooking seasonally isn’t the answer to everything: There are a lot of benefits to cooking and eating fruits and vegetables grown near you and we should all make an effort to do it more. But if you really adore bananas even though there isn’t a banana plant within a 1,000 miles of you, don’t go bananas about it. Enjoy what you love.

Do you shop locally and eat seasonally? Please share your challenges and ideas with the Shop Talk blog community forum.


Did you know: Long distance eating

“Fresh" fruits and vegetables at your local supermarket travel, on average, 1,500 to 2,500 miles before they get to you.  (Source)

47 thoughts on “Why cooking seasonally isn’t just a health fad

  1. I don’t really shop locally since I shop at supermarkets but I do eat seasonally. I find it to be cheaper and we just plan our meals around those foods.

  2. We grow our own and shop our local farmers market. The Flea markets are also a great place to shop seasonal goodies

  3. I by local if I cannot grow it on my own. I also can alot so I can have good food in the winter also.

  4. I look forward to fresh seasonal produce & buy them whenever possible. Love Az. fresh citrus from local stands. I load up on summer fruits in season. A favorite non local imported fresh fruit for me is Mt. Ranier cherries in late June & early July. I only buy fresh mushrooms. My hardest challenge is finding good fresh tomatoes. I’m really only happy with home grown.

  5. I do buy in season with the farmers market here and they have some great vegetables and fruits that is no way comparable to what is in the grocery stores.

  6. Being in a farming area, I always shop locally and our store sells well over 1,000 locally sourced foods which makes it great for buying year around. We have many fruit and vegetable stands right at the farms and orchards and they have the refrigeration systems that will hold a crop over for years if need be so we have a never ending source of foods grown right in our state and areas within 400 miles of us.

  7. I never thought about it. When I go to the store I buy what I feel like. If it’s not in season there’s always something else to choose from.

  8. As far as seasonal goes..one thing we do buy local is corn on the cob..only during summer months ..we trust our local farmers..we grow our own vegtables..in the summer.. tomatoes,beans peas..winter months we eat canned veggies and only buy produce as need …

  9. I always eat seasonable so that I can have the most natural taste as well as health benefits from my produce section. I wait until I know the climate in my state is the prime time for harvesting and I know there will be fresh produce available to enjoy.

  10. I always try to buy when in season and at my local farmers market or fruit stand.The taste is so much better than any that the stores sell.The mater’s at WalMart have no flavor at all and to me are a waste of money.I try to buy a few mater plants each year so that way I have my own fresh supply of maters and can get my green mater fix.But it is very hard for us to get the fruits and veggies we need because they cost so much and we have very little income.

  11. I love the idea of purchasing produce and fruit from local farms but the fact is it is not cheaper. In order to stay an open working farm these day’s, farmers have to charge and eating local means paying a much higher price than what we pay in the market for products that are not anywhere near as good due to the price of picking, storing, shipping, before it gets to us. I know this makes little sense but the fact is I have to pay double at the farmers market over what I pay in the grocery store. Of course our farmers are struggling and our growing season is short.

  12. I grew up in a small farm community where my dad was a doctor and often was paid in produce, etc. Farmers would call my mom and say, “Put a pot of water on, I’m going into the field to pick you some corn.” I now live outside Chicago in a suburb. When possible I buy from farm stands and at Farmer’s Markets, but learned something this summer that upset me. I stopped at a farm stand and as I was asking about the produce I learned that very little of it came from nearby. The peaches that I thought at least would have come from nearby Michigan came from states not nearby and so forth. The produce at most farm stands cost more than the Super Market, but I always thought they would be fresher and I was supporting a local farmer. SURPRISE! At the local Jewel they had peaches from nearby Michigan and a lot less and better tasting. So just because you shop at a local Farmer’s Market or farm stand doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting local produce.

  13. I don’t buy a lot of vegetables in stores i try to grow some in the summer. Tomatoes Peppers and Lettuce are some i grow. Fruit is another story sense i do have to buy those in store and it’s so hard to find anything with flavor anymore.

  14. It is really good to purchase fruits/veggies when they are in season and plentiful. I try to shop at local farmers markets for fresh locally grown produce.

  15. I have always thought seasonly vegetables and fruit that were grown near our grocery stores are always cheaper because it does not take a lot of time to get to the grocery store. I like that but I always liked eating at home anyway because I can cook more healthier food,.

Comments are closed.