Eat and Drink Why eating local and seasonal food is good for you Seasonal and local foods are good for your health and can be bought at the Union Square Greenmarket, and others, across the city. Photo Credit: Nancy Borowick By DAISY MELAMED. Special to amNewYork February 6, 2014 2:18 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Eating local foods in season may sound like just another hip foodie trend, but this time you actually might want to buy into the buzz. Carolyn Brown, MS, RD, nutrition expert at Foodtrainers, a nutrition and fitness company on the Upper West Side, said there are several reasons to hop on the bandwagon. First and foremost, local foods are packed with more nutrients. The term local means produce was picked when it was in season and ripe, said Brown, and was trucked at most a few hundred miles, ending up on your table within days if not hours of leaving the farm. "Picked when ripe means that nutrients, antioxidants and - most important to your tastebuds - flavors, have had time to develop," she said. Amy Blankstein, communications manager at the non-profit Just Food, agrees. "Because they [farmers] are not shipping their produce over long distances, local farmers tend to be harvesting their produce at the peak of freshness, when nutritional quality is also at its peak," she said. Local produce often means more variety, too, Blankstein said. "Local farmers are typically growing a greater variety and diversity of crops, and the varieties that local farmers choose to grow are valued for their flavor profile, rather than shelf life," she said. The benefits of taste cannot be denied: When fruits and vegetables taste great, they're more desirable. "If the flavor is better, people are going to be more excited about making fruits and vegetables a regular part of their diet," Blankstein explained. Buying local produce "simplifies the amount of work you have to do in the kitchen." Buying local also means the farmer is often available to answer any questions you might have about how your food is grown. "If you're at a farmers market, you can ask the actual farmers all about the production methods, like whether pesticides or antibiotics were used," Brown said. ** What kind of veggie is that? Intimidated by the farmers market? GrowNYC offers this tip for venturing into the world of green: "Ask the farmer! If you're unfamiliar with a product you come across, ask what it is and how to cook it." WHAT'S IN SEASON WHEN IN NYC January: beans, onions, pearsFebruary: radish, turnips, cabbage, carrotsMarch: potatoes, applesApril: mesclun greens, parsnipsMay: lettuce, scallions, spinachJune: beets, broccoli, herbs, raspberriesJuly: peaches, prunes, tomatoes, Swiss chardAugust: blackberries, canteloupe, rhubarb, peppersSeptember: blueberries, grapes, squash, leeksOctober: celery, fennel, kale, watermelonNovember: cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collard greensDecember: beans, parsnips, beet greens By DAISY MELAMED. Special to amNewYork Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.