This Summer, Try Eating Seasonally

“Eating seasonally” has become a trendy thing and you’ll likely see this phrase on many magazine covers at the grocery store. But what does it really mean and why should you eat seasonally? Seasonal eating is just what it sounds like—eating foods that are in season, right now. Most of us are lucky enough to have access to big grocery stores with a wide variety of fruits and veggies available all year round. But we don’t often stop to think: Are these tomatoes actually in season? Especially when we can go to the store and get those tomatoes even in December, where most of the country is under a blanket of snow.

Eating seasonally means selecting your produce from what is in season where you are. Why choose produce this way? Foods that are in season are fresher, taste better, and their nutritional value is often at their peak. Another reason to eat seasonally is that it encourages us to eat a variety of foods throughout the year. If you only choose produce that is in season, you won’t get stuck in a rut of only relying apples and baby carrots as your fruit and veggie standbys.

In Florida, you’ll find the following the fruits and vegetables in abundance over the summer: avocados, cantaloupes, eggplants, guavas, lychee, mangos, mushrooms, oranges, papayas, passion fruit, potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes, and watermelon.

Cantaloupes are a seasonal summer fruit in Florida. (Photo credit: USDA.gov, courtesy of Scott Bauer)

Look for these fruits and veggies when you’re at the grocery store and always check to see where your produce comes from. Locally grown produce will be fresher than something that was flown in thousands of miles from another location. You can also visit your local farmer’s market to find just-picked seasonal goodies.

Another way you can ensure you’re eating seasonally is to try your hand at backyard gardening. Start with a container or two and plants that are easy to grow in the Florida heat, such as peppers, eggplant, or okra.

If trying new produce that you don’t normally choose at the store is a little daunting, fear not. Another reason to visit your local farmer’s market is that the farmers there will often have some great tips on how to cook and prepare the produce they are selling. You can also try searching Pinterest for recipes (avocado chocolate mousse anyone?).

This summer, challenge yourself to try one new in-season food. It might just become your new seasonal favorite.

Sources:

http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Marketing-and-Development/Consumer-Resources/Buy-Fresh-From-Florida/Crops-in-Season

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate-mywins-tips-enjoying-local-foods

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