Featured Food & nutrition Wellness

Benefits of eating local

Farmers markets abound throughout the summer and fall. So are there any benefits to choosing locally grown produce? Registered dietitian Katelynn Maniatis explores some of the reasons you’ll definitely want to dig in.

Taste. Locally grown foods don’t need to be stored or travel far to be sold, so they often taste fresher and more flavorful. This is also because they are picked when they are ripe, and not left to ripen off the vine or in a warehouse.

More nutritional value. Because local produce is typically given more time to ripen before being picked, this may boost its nutritional value in some cases. Certain foods are better at maintaining their nutritional content even when shipped at long distances, including carrots and apples. Other produce doesn’t fare as well, including broccoli and tomatoes.

Eat seasonally. While we are used to having access to all foods all the time, the truth is there is a season for every type of produce. Eating locally means you’ll be eating seasonally, and enjoying all of the foods that come along with that. Just think of how amazing a certain fruit or vegetable will taste if you haven’t had it in a while!

Year long benefits. If you really want to enjoy the taste and variety of locally grown produce all year, freezing and canning them are good options. When thawing or cooking, use very low heat. Soups and stews are both good options for retaining nutrients that might otherwise be lost in cooking water.

Smaller footprint. Foods that are grown locally can be sold locally, reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on the environment. So as you enjoy your amazing food, that’s something else to feel great about!

Supporting local farmers. By choosing local produce, you are supporting local farmers in your area. Getting to know the growers also promotes a sense of community.

Fill your plate. Aim to eat 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Choose fresh produce and always wash your food well before eating it. The bottom line is, fill your plate with these healthy options — no matter their source!

Availability guide. Check out Foodland Ontario’s availability guide to see when Ontario fruits and vegetables are in season, and to sign up for updates.

About the author

Monica Matys

Monica Matys

Monica Matys is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

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