Who doesn’t love the beginning of fall? The air is crisper (or at least it will be) and festive adornments of pumpkins, scarecrows, and mums decorate every public setting from grocery stores to neighborhoods to everywhere in between. As cheer for the holidays increases, and outdoor temps decrease, I always find myself craving hardier, heavier, more soulful food. When the cooler weather prompts you to warm your core – what are you reaching for? Shepherd’s pie? Minestrone? Chili?
No matter what you choose for comfort, I bet you you’re opting for produce in the canned veggie aisle, because I know I am. As a strong advocate of non-gmo, zero salt added, bpa-free-lining canned food, I’m beginning to wonder how much good in-season produce could do, nutritionally, during the cooler “hibernating” months.
Here’s what I found from the Seasonal Food Guide:
- Seasonal refers to the times of year when the harvest or the flavor of a given type of produce is at its peak.
- Seasonal produce is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than food consumed out of season.
- Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients when they ripen naturally on their parent plant. (Compared to being picked early and ripening during travel.)
4.) Purchasing locally grown foods helps support local farms and maintains farmland and open space in your community. (It also supports the local economy.)
I used the Seasonal Food Guide’s locator to select my part of the country (North Carolina), month (October), and produce selection (all produce). Surprisingly, but also not surprisingly, there’s a lot of produce "in season"! I incorrectly expected it would be narrowed down to squash, potatoes, and cabbage but there are actually avocados, beets, citrus, grapefruit, kale, and more in season.
With that said, it looks like I’ll be kicking off fall with this beauty, which is packed with loads of anti-oxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins C, E, K, and B-6:
To find out seasonal produce in your area, use Seasonal Food Guide's selector tool and also click “Seasonality” below the produce to find out what it is and how best to cook it!