Throughout the year, there are usually lots of locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables available in supermarkets. But at the same time, there's also a growing abundance of imported products primarily using refrigeration or freezing methods in food storage. Because food comes from all around the world, it can be quite overwhelming to have so many food choices and varieties. For most foreigners though, having access to the food they're usually accustomed with is important.
However, it's still wise to choose more of the local products. But why should you buy local? Here are some benefits of choosing fresh local fruits and vegetables as the first choice when we go shopping:
1. Better taste, higher quality
As we all know, without daily use of fruits and vegetables, our body and organism will go under serious risks of all kinds of illnesses (Health and Diet, Promoting Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables).
Thanks to the high content of water, vitamins, fibers, minerals, natural sugars and antioxidants of fresh fruits and vegetables, we can obtain the necessary energy for our regular days and also protect our immune system, well-being, vitality, and health.
The variety of fruits and vegetables in the supermarkets is really huge, but choosing mostly from seasonal and local fruits and vegetables often give us the advantage of better taste. Because the food which has been grown closer to us has a smaller chance of getting spoilt on its own to consumption. In addition, if the food is also seasonal and local, it has been picked at the peak of freshness, keeping the flavor and nutrients intact as they are usually sold before going bad.
2. More vitamins and nutrients
The local vegetables and fruits contain more vitamins and a higher amount of nutrients because it takes less time to reach our tables. The imported food comes from afar and is usually picked when not yet fully ripe, and because of the far distance, their vitamins and nutrients reduce with time.
3. Eco-friendly and sustainable choice for the environment
Foods which have been locally and seasonally grown can be better for the environment since there is less need for energy and resources for transportation.
4. Supporting the local economy
Buying more of the local foods is beneficial to the local economy since this can support local businesses and farmers in the area and the country you live in.
5. Supporting farmers and maintaining farms
Farmers need economic support to keep their farming jobs and to be able to create high-quality food for people. Buying local food helps to preserve biodiversity and maintain farmlands for future generations too.
What to choose?
People often think that there is very little choice of buying Finnish fruits and vegetables especially in winter, but it's necessary to read well all tags, we really find lots of Finnish products. The price tags have the words Suomi, Suomalainen, Kotimainen or Suoraan viljelijältä (directly from the farmer).
Here are some examples of fresh fruits and vegetables:
*Cabbage: red cabbage, white cabbage, bruxle cabbage, broccoli (parsakaali), cauliflower (kukkakaali), kohlrabi in green and purple color (kyssäkaali)
*Family of green leafy vegetables; such as baby spinach leaves, kale (lehtikaali), lettuce, basil, parsley, and all pot vegetables (ruukku), all roots (juurekset); like beetroots (punajuuri), yellow roots, pink roots, striped beetroots, parsnips (palsternakka), turnips (nauris), swede (lanttu), potatoes, carrots, radishes
*Berries, both fresh and also from freezer such as strawberries which grow in long sunshine of Finnish summer and they are much tasty, forest blueberries, lingonberries, cranberry, and cloudberry which all grow in the forests without any use of pesticides
*More vegetables such as zucchini (kesäkurpitsa), pumpkin (kurpitsa), mushrooms, fennel (fenkoli), onions, garlic sometimes, tomato, cucumber, peppers, leeks, apples, other types of beans made in sprouts, green beans (vihreäpapu), broad beans (härkäpapu), peas (herne) in fresh, dry or frozen, and of course much more abundance in summer season than in wintertime.
In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, there's also a large variety of healthy starches and grains to buy between Finnish products such as whole grains like rye, wheat, barley, oats in different shapes of flours, porridge flakes or as whole to cook like rice, healthy whole-grain breads and pastas. Finland also produces hemps seeds (hamppu-siemen) and flax seeds (pellavan-siemen) packed with many nutrients especially omega3. There's also a large variety of frozen Finnish food to enjoy as another option throughout the year.