While the holiday Tu Bishvat usually conjures images of customarily consumed sweet dried fruits, it could be that eating local fresh fruit has more incentives than ever to changing up tradition.The Plants Production and Marketing Board has recently published a report on Israel’s fresh fruits and vegetables production, which contributed two billion kilograms of produce to Israeli consumers. Board CEO Tzvi Alon said that this year, above all years, local fresh fruit should be added to Tu Bishvat meals to up the nutritional value during a pandemic year. The report said that dried fruit is typically imported, and usually goes through multiple rounds of chemical processes, along with added sugar, whereas locally sourced fresh fruit skips the unwanted ingredients.Besides dates, which are locally grown and dry on their own, most dried fruits are addled with chemical processes before reaching supermarkets, said Merav Mor-Ofir, clinical nutritionist and scientific adviser for the Plants Production and Marketing Board. “Some dried fruits are added with oils, glazing ingredients (to create a shiny look) and artificial food colors – the latter can also cause various effects in sensitive people and children,” Mor-Ofir said. The additional sugar heaped on also aids in prolonging shelf life. By buying locally grown fresh produce, consumers can make not only healthier choices, Alon said, but they can also provide a boost to the local economy and Israeli farmers.