Teaching children about Food by Eating in Season

BerriesA few weeks ago I was out picking raspberries, blueberries, and apples at Sholan Farms, our local apple orchard. After spending an afternoon picking…and eating I got the idea for this blog entry. Not only is picking fruit from its source a great outdoor, family friendly activity it’s also a great way¬† to teach your children about the different types of produce and where it comes from.

What does it mean to Eat in Season?

To eat in season refers to buying more local fruits and vegetables during the season in which they grow locally.

For example, you wouldn’t buy fresh berries in the winter because they don’t grow locally in New England at this time (except for blackberries). Instead, you would buy pears or cranberries.

Here is a link to help get you started: http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalfoodguide/

Benefits of eating in season

1.) Less expensive:

Eating in season helps save money because as the produce becomes more available the prices on it drops. I was able to buy twice the amount of raspberries at my local farm than at Hannaford’s for the same price.

2.) Sustainable:

It’s environmentally friendly! When you eat locally and in season your food doesn’t have to travel long distances to get to your plate therefore, less fuel is used for transportation and less pesticides are used to preserve the produce.

3.) Less pesticide exposure:

Although local farmers may still use pesticides, the amount of and type of pesticide used is different based on what is being grown. In addition, food is being grown as it should be using natural farming techniques that require less pesticide. http://www.sustainabletable.org/263/pesticides

4.) Tastes better: Food tastes better when it’s not sitting on a shelf for weeks before you buy it.

5.) Eat the rainbow: Eating in season allows us to try new foods that we might otherwise never eat. It brings the adventurer/risk taker out of all of us!

In addition, you will eat a variety of foods that contain lots of different antioxidants and phytonutrients to prevent disease.

6.) Learn where food comes from:

Sadly, not enough children today know where their food comes from. Exposing children to fresh food at farmers markets, neighborhood gardens, or buying a variety of fresh produce can be powerful teaching tools.

To get your family started:

Try buying a new veggie or fruit every month. Or participate in the #ProduceChallenge at http://www.theproducemom.com/2015/08/01/august-produce-calendar-challenge/

Eating in season has lots of benefits for you and your family, but it does have some challenges. In a second post I will explain the challenges of eating in season and what to do to combat them.