I have always had a strong preference towards eating locally and seasonally, not only for the personal health benefits, but also due to the positive impact that these decisions can have on reducing our carbon-footprint. As discussed below, this approach will also allow you to take advantage of the greater quantity and variety of nutrients that are retained by fresh produce.
Let's start with an overview of what exactly these buzz-words mean:
Eating LOCALLY means that you are eating foods that are grown in your city, province, or
region —or maybe even in your own backyard.
Eating SEASONALLY means eating foods that are being grown during the same time of the
year that you eat them.
By doing both of these things, you are eating SUSTAINABLY which means that you are
minimizing the impact that your consumption choices have on the environment.
The Residual Benefits of Eating Locally:
By choosing to eat locally and seasonally, you are able to drastically reduce the amount of time that transpires from production to consumption. You may have noticed that eating fruits and vegetables "in-season" can have a substantial impact on how flavourful your meals turn out. Imagine the taste of that fresh, bright red summer tomato on your caprese salad, as opposed to the pale tomatoes that you purchase in the winter.
In addition to being tastier, eating seasonally is also generally less expensive! Typically the extra costs associated with transportation and refrigeration of out-of season produce is passed on to the consumer. By eating locally and seasonally, you avoid this price-bump.
Finances aside, shopping for locally and seasonally will help to ensure that your produce retains its vitamins and nutrients. This will allow you to consume a greater diversity of phytonutients, which are absolutely vital for cellular health and chronic-disease prevention.
How Can I Get Started?
Here is a list of some of my favourite farmer's markets in Toronto:
Evergreen Brickworks - Saturday Farmer's Market
St. Lawrence Market - Saturday Farmer's Market
The Junction's Farmer's Market - Shop their online store available for pickup
Leslieville Farmer's Market - Shop their online market
Dufferin Grove Farmer's Market - Shop their online market available for pickup/delivery
Attention GTA Residents: If you live in the GTA and need help creating your own organic, beautiful and bountiful garden check out @thegoodseedto - their team can help walk you through all of the steps for installing and maintaining the garden of your dreams!
What is In-Season In Ontario?
Download the PDF to print and put on your fridge!
1. Harvard Health Publishing. “Fresh or Frozen Produce? The Health Benefit Is All in the Mix.” Harvard Health, June 2014, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/fresh-or-frozen-produce-the-health-benefit-is-all-in-the-mix.
2. Pritchard, Forrest. “First Time Shopping At A Farmers' Market? 5 Things You Need To Know.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/first-time-shopping-at-farmers-market_b_5519524.
3. Katherine D. McManus, MS. “Phytonutrients: Paint Your Plate with the Colors of the Rainbow.” Harvard Health Blog, 25 Apr. 2019, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/phytonutrients-paint-your-plate-with-the-colors-of-the-rainbow-2019042516501.