Our food landscape has really changed. Most of our food now comes from large scale farms that are centralized. Even organic produce comes from large corporate farming operations. If you have the opportunity to obtain F&V grown closer to home, DO IT!  Backyard gardens or local farmers markets let you eat fruits and vegetables within a day or two of harvest. This is when the phytonutrients will be the highest and have the most benefit.

When produce is grown far from where it will be sold and consumed, it requires picking before it is ripe, then storage, transport, and distribution. It is typically more than a week from harvest until purchase. Veggies may sit in the refrigerator for days before they are eaten. By then, those beautiful F&V may have lost 70-80% of their nutrients. They will still be fiber-filled, but less nutrient-dense.

When you are shopping in a grocery store, take time to look at the label on the shelf or on the produce. Does it say where it was grown? In which state or country? The closer the location, the better. If things are out of season and are coming from halfway around the globe, you can bet that they will not have the flavor or nutrients of ones grown closer, picked when ripe, and in season. When F&V aren’t in season, buying frozen may be a better option. Frozen F&V are typically picked in season and at peak ripeness.

So, when possible, eat locally grown fruits and vegetables and give them a good rinse to remove pesticide residue immediately prior to consuming. When not in season, buy frozen. Seek out locations to buy fresh or frozen produce from local or regional farms to maximize best flavor and highest nutrient density.