An apple is an apple. Whatever the season, an apple will always be an apple. However, an apple in the fall is crispier than an apple in the spring. Nature produces apples in autumn. The soil's nutrients, the temperature, and the rainfall come together to create the sweetest version of an apple.
We consume fruits out of season year long. We slice melons when melons aren't supposed to be sliced. We zest oranges when oranges aren't supposed to be zested. We eat produce from parts of the world we've never seen, and is that always a good thing?
For centuries, landscapes limited humans to the crops it could provide. After advances in fertilizers, genetic modifications, cold packing and freezing, we can ship "fresh" produce from Sao Paolo, Brazil to grocery stores in York, Maine.
If you've traveled abroad, you know several rounds of vaccinations may be necessary to get in and out of the country without a sniffle. What about your food? How many steps does your foreign food go through before it's peeled and sliced for your kids?
Local produce isn't for the hippies anymore. Homegrown fruits and vegetables contain more benefits than their distant cousins. Firstly, you and your local crops are exposed to the same elements. For example, if your allergies are hypersensitive to spring pollen, try eating a teaspoon of local honey. The bees use mixed pollen samples from your region to make their honey. By eating local, you innoculate yourself and quell your antihistamine reaction.
Foreign produce is exposed to different series of bio-factors that need to be removed before they enter the country. The removal process includes using harsh pesticides to create readily edible produce.
Local produce also means a fresher pick date. Their final destination is a mere truck drive away, so the food you purchase was often harvested within the last few days. Since nutrient value begins decreasing as soon as it's picked, more nutrients are retained in the same sized apple.
A smaller shipping radius also means lower greenhouse emissions. The longer your food travels to reach you, the more carbon emissions were involved. By lowering the demand for out of season produce, you can help cut the rate of greenhouse gasses.
Investing in local farming benefits your community economically. Critics claim local produce are too expensive to be economical. However, community movements--hiking demand for local products-- allow farmers to cut prices, benefiting you and your family.
If you're a culinary expert, or can make dope scrambled eggs, eating local enhances the nutrition and flavor of your meals. Anyone who's eaten farm-fresh eggs knows what I mean. Your food pops with flavor with little manipulating. Everything is crisper, juicier, sweeter when you buy local. Take a peek at your farmer's market this weekend.
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