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Why We Should All Eat with the Seasons

It’s official…spring is here!


What do you most look forward to this time of year?


For some, it may be the warmer temperatures.  For others, the blooming trees and the greening grass.  If you are someone who eats with the seasons (we hope you are!), it means the much-anticipated arrival of fresh asparagus, sweet strawberries, spring onions, artichokes, rhubarb, and radishes...just to name a few!

This is one of the many joys of eating local and eating with the seasons!  It's such a great way to savor foods that are at their peak of freshness and flavor.  But that's not all!  Eating with the seasons also provides huge benefits for your health and your bank account, plus so much more!


What are the benefits?

REAL flavor!

How can you resist the mouthwatering sweetness of a freshly-picked, bright red strawberry, the crisp tender crunch of fresh asparagus cooked on the grill or roasted in the oven, or a fresh juicy fire-engine red tomato, bursting with flavor?!  Any meal made with fresh, in-season ingredients will provide over-the-top flavor compared to using the same ingredients out of season.

Unfortunately, much of the produce we purchase at the store has been picked well before the peak of ripeness, therefore lacking freshness and flavor.  Think about the wonderful aroma and flavor of freshly-picked tomatoes from a local farm or garden.  You just don’t get the same pleasure from a store-bought tomato.

Have you ever wondered why the majority of tomatoes at many supermarkets and restaurants are so “bland?”  You know the ones…that strange, crunchy variety you find on your burger at some restaurants.  Or, the ones that look so tantalizing at the store, but just don’t deliver when you get them home, slice them and find them to be pale and lacking flavor inside.

Why is this?  

Many commercially-produced tomatoes have been bred for high yield and durability…not flavor.  Those who produce and sell these tomatoes want them to be disease resistant, have a long shelf-life and be durable and uniform in shape to make them easier to transport.  They also want them to ripen evenly…to become ripe all at once (which is not how an “explode in your mouth” tomato normally ripens).

Go ahead and do a taste test!  

Make a meal using in-season produce from your garden or a local farm, and then make the same meal using store-bought ingredients.  The difference is amazing!


Nutritional powerhouse!

Fruits and vegetables, when allowed to ripen to their full potential and consumed shortly after harvesting, are loaded with nutrients.

These nutrients reduce inflammation in our bodies, fight cancer, regulate our heart rate and blood pressure and reduce the risk of so many other diseases like Alzheimer’s, arthritis, diabetes and depression.  They even help reduce the impact of spring allergies!  If your food comes from other parts of the country (or other parts of the world), it has likely spent several days being transported, stored in warehouses and exposed to varying temperatures.  This significantly diminishes the nutrients, not to mention the flavor!


Take asparagus as an example.  Next time you go to the store, look to see where the asparagus came from.  Chances are it came from Mexico or South America.  Why buy asparagus that was grown thousands of miles away in conditions that you know nothing about, and which has spent days on trucks and in warehouses before making it to the store?

Instead, you can go to the local farmers’ market and buy fresh asparagus from someone that lives within an hour or two of your home and who probably harvested it within the last 24 hours.  The taste and nutrients are unmatched!


Eating with the seasons also supports our bodies’ seasonal needs.

Have you ever thought about how your body benefits from different foods in different seasons?

Leafy greens grown in the spring are the perfect way to detox from the heavier foods we typically eat during the winter.  In the summer, foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, peaches and berries help us cool down and stay hydrated.  And, in the fall, apples help our bodies get rid of excess heat and transition into cooler weather.  Eating a variety of fresh, in-season foods naturally gives us the optimal assortment of nutrients we need for great health.


Bigger bank account!

Enjoying in-season produce is an excellent way to save on food costs.  Of course, when you purchase produce at your local farmers’ markets, it is easy to tell what's in-season...and you generally can’t go wrong with the cost and quality at the local markets.  But how do you know what's in-season at the store?  The easiest way is to look at what's on sale.  Buying asparagus in April will be significantly cheaper than buying it in January.  By becoming familiar with what's in-season and taking advantage of sales, you can pat yourself on the back for enjoying delicious and nutritious foods while saving some money in the process!


Inspire home cooking!

When you get in the habit of purchasing in-season produce, you then get to be creative and figure out what to do with it.  This helps provide motivation to cook more at home, which is absolutely one of the best things you can do for your family and your health.  Plus, it's a great way to break out of the dinnertime rut!


Get to know your farmer!

The best way to eat with the seasons is to make it a habit to shop at the local farmers’ markets.  Make it part of your routine!

If you do this, you will get to know your local farmers, where your food comes from and how it's grown.  We love knowing we are eating Graze the Prairie's grass-fed beef from animals that Linda and Keith have passionately raised or Jimmy's pickled okra that is unlike anything you will find in a store.  We bet you have amazing farmers like this in your communities as well!



Help the environment!

Seasonal produce can more easily be grown without the use of pesticides or other chemicals, which not only means less contamination to the soil and water, but it's also much better for your health.



We have found we appreciate and enjoy foods so much more when we eat with the seasons.  By enjoying foods when they are at their peak of freshness, we are excited for the approaching seasons.

We are currently anxiously awaiting the abundance of spring produce, which gives us the opportunity to enjoy dishes like the Asparagus with Catalan Vinaigrette and Shaved Asparagus Pizza.  By the end of asparagus season, we will have had our fill of asparagus and will be highly anticipating the summer produce such as zucchini, sweet melons, peaches, and juicy red tomatoes.  Like anything, it's easier to appreciate and savor it when you know it's here for a limited time.  Plus, there's always something to look forward to!

Here are just a few spring-inspired meal ideas to get excited, there are MANY, MANY more on the website!

Pineapple Chicken Quesadillas with Strawberry Salsa

Orange Farro Salad with Spring Veggies

Honey Roasted Rhubarb Salad

Springtime Bi Bim Bop

Spring Salad with Deviled Egg Inspired Vinaigrette

Radishes with Sugar Snap Peas and Dill

Springtime Strawberry Couscous Salad

Strawberry Basil Chicken

Spring Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad

Spring Asparagus Farro Salad

Shallot, Asparagus & Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza

Roasted Strawberry and Asparagus Salad

Roasted Chickpea and Asparagus Potato Salad

Springtime Minestrone

Egg-Topped Roasted Asparagus and Strawberries

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Sweet Orange Roasted Fennel and Radish Salad


Zonya Says...

I find there are two kinds of "eat with the seasons" people.  The first grew up that way, most likely on a farm or with parents that grew a garden.  And from childhood, they remember celebrating each of the seasons with locally grown and harvested food with their parents.  The other is like myself, who learned it much later, by reading about the nutritional and flavor differences of "in season food," combined with a new habit of farmers' market shopping and desire to save money.  Whichever is your way, we wish you a fantastic flavor filled spring!


If you don’t already eat with the seasons, we strongly encourage you to give it a try!

Your taste buds, body and bank account will thank you!



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2 Responses to Why We Should All Eat with the Seasons

  1. I have to note on the tomatoes. I have toured the large produce purveyor companies. When all these tomatoes in the grocery stores come to them in the off seasons, they are totally green. They size them and box them up and they all go into a large room at room temperature w/ green bananas. The gases from each of them help the other ripen to the colors that people are used to seeing. Once they are ripened they then go out to the stores and other accounts. So what Krista and Zonya are saying is sooooo true. Totally flavorless! Try it some time, the next time you have a green banana or tomato put it into a brown paper bag and check it the next day. It’s a fun experiment.

  2. Eat Real has totally taught us to eat with the seasons which is why we are excited for spring! The outdoor Farmers Market has started and seeing those booths set up is exciting. I have several of our favorite Eat Real asparagus ready to make 🙂

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