What is seasonal food?
Seasonal food is produce that is purchased and consumed around the time that it is harvested.
For example, purchasing fresh tomatoes & sweet corn in season in southwest Virginia means buying them
in the mid-to-late Summer shortly after farmers
have picked them.
Why is it important to eat food
that’s in season?
Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than food consumed out of season.
Even though we all like to eat tomatoes year round, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower
shortly after harvest.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables produced
on local farms are often fresher,
as they do not require long distances for transport.
Also, unlike out-of-season produce which is harvested early in order to be shipped & distributed
to your local retail store, crops picked at their peak
of ripeness are also better tasting and full of flavor.
What’s more, studies have shown that fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients when allowed
to ripen naturally on their parent plant.
Why is eating local food important?
Local food benefits the environment.
Purchasing locally grown foods helps support local farms and maintains farmland & open space
in your community.
A recent USDA study also found that
direct-to-consumer producers were less likely
to apply pesticides and herbicides to control weeds and insects than conventional producers.
(with the exception of chemicals to control insects & weeds
in fruit, nut and berry crops)
Local food supports the local economy.
The money you spend on products from local farmers and growers stays in the community and
is reinvested with other local businesses.
Local growers can tell you how the food was grown.
When you buy directly from farmers,
you have the opportunity to ask what practices
they use to raise and harvest the crops.
When you know where your food comes from
and who grew it, you know a lot more
about your food.