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Is locally sourced food healthier than your “average” produce?

March 2, 2021

Here at Good Apple, we believe in the power of local. All you have to do is open one of our boxes to see the color, taste, and quality that local produce brings to your home. But those warm and fuzzy feelings aside, does locally sourced food really provide more health benefits than your average produce?

Locally sourced foods are fresher, and therefore more nutritious. Local food has a shorter time between harvest and hitting your table, which helps it maintain its nutritional value. Vitamin-rich veggies such as spinach contain a variety of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, B, E, and A. But most produce loses 30 percent of its nutrients in the three days after harvest. While veggies from the supermarket still have plenty of healthy nutrients, shorter trips mean more nutritious veggies from a local grower. At Good Apple, around 75% our produce comes from within 20 miles, and even our farthest local farm is still only 180 miles away from Austin.

Local produce has more time to ripen. Locally grown food can be picked at the peak of its ripeness, which also adds to nutrition. Many supermarkets’ produce travels long distances (an average of 1,500 miles!) before it arrives at your neighborhood grocery store. This means produce is picked before it’s ripe and sprayed with plant hormones to speed up the ripening process. A shorter, more artificial ripening process means those veggies have less of a chance to accumulate nutrients and flavor. More than 80% of farmer’s market shoppers say that local fruits and veggies taste better than other produce.

Eating local promotes variety in our diets. The best time to eat any produce is when it’s in season. Supermarkets provide us with generally the same fare year-round, which is convenient. But a mouthful of those chemically tasting strawberries in mid-February reminds us that eating produce that’s in season also maximizes your food’s natural flavors. At Good Apple, you can look forward to unique and nutritious varieties of produce such as kohlrabi, daikon, persimmons, and mei choi to shake up your daily routine.

Eating seasonally certainly encourages us to shake up our recipe repertoire, and it also allows farmers to grow foods based on factors other than their ability to endure a long journey from different climates to your local grocery store. Local farms support biodiversity by growing many different varieties of crops to provide a longer harvest season, which is good for us and good for our planet. According to a study at Montclair State University, broccoli grown in season contained double the vitamin C of broccoli imported out of season. That’s a big difference!

It can be easy to choose convenience over the ideal choice for your health, budget, and values. Luckily, with our produce boxes, you can expect locally sourced, farm-fresh veggies delivered right to your door – that’s health AND convenience! And with your subscription, you also provide a box to a family in need in your community. Sign up today.