Eating in Season
“Eating in season” is a popular phrase which literally means eating whatever fruits and vegetables are fresh and well, in season in your part of the world. Unfortunately simply buying organic fruit and veg will not help you decide what is from your area and therefore in season because in the past up to 70% of such items were actually imported from other countries where the different climates mean that different things are fresh and available at different times. Not only does shipping these items around the world create more pollution, but it also means that more packaging is needed to wrap and secure these items and ultimately that by the time they reach your table the taste and nutrients in them could be quite less than you would like. Rather than taking for granted that you can now have strawberries in the winter and pumpkins in the spring, why not try out eating in season to see exactly how well the Earth provides for you?
Visit a Farmer’s MarketVisiting a local farmer’s market is perhaps the best way to find out which fruits and vegetables are in season as you will be exposed to produce that was grown and harvested strictly in your local area. If you’re lucky, you’ll also find products made from local produce, such as jams, juices and ciders, so that you can purchase even more fresh seasonal items. Most farmer’s markets take place on the weekend, and getting to know the local suppliers will undoubtedly help you garner information one when to expect certain produce to be available, how to cook produce you’ve never experienced before, how produce was grown and harvested and possibly even if there are other fruits and vegetables available that aren’t on sale to the general public. Information on local farmers markets can usually be found in the local newspaper, in school, church or community bulletins, at local independent shops and on community notice boards.
Consider Box SchemesEven if visiting a farmer’s market every week is not an option for you, you can still shop and eat in season by signing up for local box schemes. Usually such schemes work by charging you a set amount per box, deciding on the number of boxes per month, and then delivering these boxes with a mixture of whatever fruits and vegetables are available for that time. Some people do not like the surprise aspects of these schemes – that they are never totally sure of which fruits and vegetables will be in the boxes – but once you’ve been accepting deliveries for a little while you will begin to anticipate which produce is in season and which produce is grown locally, which means you get a good idea of what items will be delivered each time. If you’re lucky, recipes on how to cook the fruits and vegetables will also be included in these deliveries.
Eating in season is a simple, not to mention delicious, way of supporting your local farmers and making sure that you are using the bounty that your local area provides. It will probably never be possible to eat entirely in season, but start experimenting with your fruits and vegetables and see how you get on – your environment, your community and your tastebuds will thank you for it!