It has become more and more popular to eat seasonally, and for good reason. Local food, grown at local farms, is healthier, filled with all its original natural nutrients since it doesn't travel as far to reach you in the grocery store. It's more cost effective to purchase food when it is at its most abundant. And, most of all, it tastes better - the food is picked at the peak of its freshness. But how do you know what produce is in season?
Each growing area differs widely in which crops might be available at any given time of the year, and it can be hard to keep track of the harvest times if you don't live in a town that relies on agriculture. Luckily, there's an app for that! This seasonal produce guide app is a pocket guide to finding seasonal food, no matter where you live.
Why eat seasonally?
Eating a seasonal diet is the best way to eat locally. Local (and seasonal) food allows you to purchase and consume food closer to the time it is harvested. This makes the food fresher (and tastier) than food that has sat on the shelf or in a warehouse for long periods of time.
Fresh food is also more nutrient dense than out-of-season food out of season. When it's in season, produce is allowed to ripen naturally on the plant. Since it doesn't have very far to travel, it retains more nutrients than food that travels longer distances (plus, bonus, its footprint is much lower, too). Out-of-season food is usually picked before it fully matures because it will continue to ripen during its long shipping time.
Who does seasonal food benefit?
Seasonal food benefits you as the eater. You are eating more nutrient dense food that tastes better. These nutrients also mean you're eating healthier food, and seasonal diets have been linked to benefits in your gut microbes. Some believe that changing the foods you eat throughout the year is more consistent with a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, which allows your body to heal itself throughout the year.
In addition to being linked with gut-healing results, seasonal food also benefits your local farmer. Local food maintains farmland and open space in your community, benefiting both the environment and your local neighborhood. Keeping your food dollars local also allows farmers and distributors to reinvest in local businesses, creating jobs for process and distribution as well as restaurant jobs.
What is the Seasonal Food Guide?
The Seasonal Food Guide aims to help you enjoy the health benefits (and flavor boost) of seasonal produce. The guide is the most comprehensive national database of seasonal food available.
It helps connect consumers to local farms. Their major goal is to eliminate environmental damage caused by shipping thousands of miles from farmer to consumer.
How do you use the Seasonal Food Guide?
The Seasonal Food Guide is available in two ways - you can use an online search or download the app. The nice thing about the app is that it works anywhere you are, no matter if you have an internet connection or not.
Either search allows you to view which produce is in season near you. You can look at the produce items per month, and the search will further specify whether the item is in season during the early or late part of each month. You can also search by specific fruit or vegetable. The app will tell you if the product is grown in your state, and which months that produce is in season.
As an added bonus, you can click on the produce and it will give you additional information. Some items, like basil, tell you how to store and preserve each product. Others, like apples, tell you nutritional information. Clicking on "Learn & Cook" redirects you to the EcoCentric website, linking each item to in depth information and recipes from Real Food Right Now blog.
Now that you know how easy it is to seek out local food, download the app and get started today!