It’s true! Produce is the most nutrient dense when it is picked. The nutrients break down as time goes on, leaving food that has traveled a long distance to get to grocery store shelves much less nutrient dense than its fresh counterpart. I am a huge proponent of buying locally grown food. Not only is the food better tasting and better for you, but it is also better for the environment. Not as much waste is produced from packaging materials and green house gas emissions are lower because the produce is not being shipped half way across the world. Today I went to a local farmers market with my mom and we got so much great produce! I also love that they sell flowers and herbs at this farmers market. Check out the coleus plants my mom bought!
We ended up spending $27 dollars for: 4 coleus plants, 1 package each of blackberries and raspberries, 5 tomatoes, 1 bag of salad mix (that was grown chemical free!), 1 bag of raw peas, a yellow squash, a head of broccoli, golden beets, and 1 yellow onion. I will admit that this is more expensive than the grocery store price, but I think it is worth it when you can really taste the difference!
Look at how fresh the veggies are!
I suppose I should revise my prior statement since some of the ‘vegetables’ in the picture are actually fruits. Yep! To settle the age old question: Tomatoes are a fruit. They are generally mislabeled because they are vegetable-like due to their savory flavor and cooking qualities. Yellow and red tomatoes, however, do have the same nutrient content (similar to the ‘brown vs white’ egg dilemma). The difference is in their pigments. There are three different categories of pigments: carotenoids, chlorophylls, and flavanoids. Tomatoes, along with carrots and some fruit such as pineapple, fall under carotenoids. Carotenoids impart yellow, orange, and red colors to foods. Lycopenes and carotenes are the sub-categories of carotenoids that are in tomatoes; lycopenes in red and carotenes in yellow/orange. Lycopenes have been proven cancer fighting agents because of their high phytochemical content. Phytochemicals are non-nutritive compounds in food that offer health benefits. In tomatoes, these are: antioxidants!
Therefore, the fresher your tomatoes, the higher the content of phytochemicals in lycopenes, the more antioxidants you get per bite! Is that incentive enough to buy locally grown produce?