- Author: Melissa Tamargo
It is not uncommon to enter a grocery store or local supermarket and see the same varieties of fruits and vegetables year round thanks to the convenience of artificial harvesting conditions as well as our growing dependence on foreign countries. Although sustaining the supply of our favorite fruits and vegetables, could both methods of production actually be accompanied by major costs?
When a fruit is out-of-season, it cannot be produced locally and is thus imported from elsewhere or it is grown in a heated greenhouse. Grocery stores and local supermarkets must thus incur the cost of importing by raising their prices. Unfortunately, the excitement of indulging in a juicy summer watermelon in the dead of winter still lures many consumers into buying out-of-season fruit, even if it means spending more money. Apart from the impact out-of-season fruit can have on your budget, the quality of the produce itself is not worth the extra money. The nutritional content and freshness of fruits and vegetables decrease from the moment they are harvested. Fruits that must be imported remain in storage containers or trucks for days, altering their vibrant colors, natural fragrances, juicy tastes, and healthy nutrients. Furthermore, the trucks and planes themselves that transport the food have a negative impact on the environment with their increased carbon footprints. However, if fruits were bought in season, then we wouldn't have to worry about the steep prices or extra carbon emissions invested in transporting food from elsewhere! Buying fruit out-of-season simply lacks the same benefits of buying fruit in season. Local produce is more fresh and - by extension - much healthier with its nutritional content and natural flavors still intact. Every season yields a delicious and gratifying variety of fruit; all it takes is the will to explore new options!
Buying fruit in season can have a positive impact on your health, budget, and sustainability. The following Fruit Seasonality Chart is an excellent tool to track when our favorite fruits are in season, conserving our health, wallets, and the environment!