Eating with the Seasons
You may be surprised at just how many benefits there are to eating food that’s in season.
- It’s better for you: Lots of the nutrients in fresh fruit and vegetables degrade over time; eating foods in season, especially if you can get them locally, means that they won’t have travelled as far and spent as long in boxes. The content of certain vitamins in fresh fruit diminishes day by day, so fresher really is better. It’s not just the health benefits that are better though… fresh local produce is brighter, tastier, and full of a goodness that can’t be easily measured. Knowing you’re buying locally, doing your bit for small businesses and local growers is good for your body and mind.
- It’s better for the environment: We are more aware than ever of ‘food miles’ – simply put, the further your food has to travel to get to you, the more energy is used, and the more fuel, packaging, and waste it creates. Next time you’re at the supermarket, you can check out where the food you’re buying was grown – you might be shocked at how far it’s come. If you’re lucky enough to have good grocer nearby, or even a farmers’ market, you’ll be able to find out exactly how far your food has travelled.
It isn’t necessarily just miles, but the sheer amount of energy used – some farming methods to supply food out of season require heated polytunnels, chemical fertilisers, and intensive land use.
- It might save you money: if you’re able to shop around and buy seasonal produce from local growers, you might be able to save money, especially if you’re flexible about the sort of things you cook and eat. Locally grown vegetable boxes are good – some larger farms or small groups of growers offer regular seasonal boxes – they’re usually at a good price, and exciting – you never know what you’ll get.
Some local produce could be cheaper for you, but some foods won’t be available or cost-effective, sometimes simply because of climate and farmland. Small farmers sometimes simply can’t compete with supermarket prices; some of the incredibly high yield, high supply produce available in supermarkets is now available incredibly cheaply. Luckily, the quality of local produce is outstanding; the colour, the smell, and the taste, and there’s the added benefit of knowing your money’s going to support small, local businesses.
Eating seasonal produce can mean taking a leap from our comfort zone – we can all get stuck in a rut and find ourselves eating the same few meals, over and over. Trying to stick to foods that are in season means that we might sometimes have to get creative with our meal plans, but you’ll soon find yourself tucking into more unusual foods such as celeriac, romanesco, kalettes and kohlrabi.