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by Katrina Avila

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

We’ve all heard it a thousand times before, but what happens when apples aren’t in season? All too often, I’ve found myself disappointed by unripe, flavorless fruit after spending $2.99 on a pound of apples.

Eating fruits and veggies out of season can have a negative impact on your wallet and your body. Buying and eating produce when they’re in season can save you money—both immediately and in the long run.

When produce is in season there is an abundance of it to go around, driving the supply up and pushing the cost down.

Gaiam Life offers an example: “Think of the packaged herbs you see in a grocery store during the winter – a few (usually limp) sprigs of basil, all too frequently with black speckles and moldy leaves, cost about $3 per half ounce. In contrast, the gorgeous, bright green, crisp basil you see in both grocery stores and at farmers’ markets in the summer when basil is in season often sells for as little as $1-2 for an enormous bunch.”

When fruits and veggies are sold out of season, they often lack any sort of flavor. A lack of flavor directly correlates to a lack of nutrition. If you find strawberries at the grocery store in the middle of January, chances are they were grown in a greenhouse or shipped from halfway around the world.

Gaiam Life says that transporting produce can sometimes require a process called irradiation, which involves “zapping the produce with a burst of radiation to kill germs.” Transportation also requires using preservatives, such as wax, to protect produce during shipment. These preservatives can be linked to negative effects of a person’s health.

Why waste your money on produce that isn’t doing anything for you? Check out this link to see when your favorite fruits and vegetables are in season. Save your health and your wallet.