Local, organic food is where its at but as we’re waiting for the local produce to start pouring into local farmers’ markets, CSA shares, and grocery stores, we’re often stuck with food flown in from all over the world. You may not have thought of it like this before, but when you go to the grocery store, you are shopping at an international marketplace. There is food flown in from all over the world.
In general, its best to buy local if you can. If its just not available yet, there is fresh seasonal produce in the springtime at your grocery store. One way to tell if a food is perfectly in season is by looking at the price tag. Last week, mangoes were 3 for $1. Mangoes are far from local but they were at the peak of ripeness and really cheap. So, when mangoes were 3 for $1, I bought 6. So what does someone do with 6 mangoes? You can peel them, pit them, and slice them to keep in the freezer for smoothies and other treats later. You can make Mango Sorbet— a delicious and healthy treat. There are a lot of things you can do with mangoes, just keep in mind that you don’t have to use them right away. Your freezer is an ally for healthy eating, so use it!
This price/peak of ripeness concept applies to tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and just about any fruit or vegetable wherever you find it. When high quality produce is at the peak of ripeness, meaning that its in season, its cheap. A lot of clients and colleagues ask me how to stick to your food budget while still eating lots of fresh produce and this is it: eat what’s in season and what’s grown locally. This will keep you from blowing your food budget but will require some creativity as the selection of fresh local fruits and vegetables is constantly changing. Go ahead, try something new!