Rhubarb in autumn. Pumpkin in winter. Mango in summer and zucchini in spring.
Eating seasonally has so many benefits. Aside from being delicious, it’s good for you, your wallet and the planet. So, with the start of a fresh new season, we thought we’d pop together a guide to help you shop seasonally this spring.
First, what does eating seasonally mean?
All food has a growing cycle. From seed to sprout, seasonal weather conditions have an impact on what can grow and be harvested.
This is how humans would have consumed their produce since, well, the dawn of time – until big supermarkets and their cold storage systems came into play.
Now, we can get pretty much whatever we want, whenever we want. This is convenient, but it can have an impact on the produce we’re left with.
The health benefits
The longer the time it takes for a fresh produce to go from farm to plate, the more flavour and nutrients it tends to lose.
Studies have shown that leafy greens lost almost 50% of their original vitamin C content after transport, storage and sitting at the supermarket, and most vegetables experience a substantial vitamin and mineral loss after more than a couple of weeks in cold storage.
Research indicates that leafy greens lose nearly 50% of their initial vitamin C content following processes such as transportation, storage, and shelf time at supermarkets. Additionally, most vegetables experience a notable drop in vitamins and minerals after being kept in cold storage for more than a few weeks.
So, the sooner you eat produce after it’s been harvested, the better it is for you. How to do this? You guessed it, eat seasonally!
The sustainability benefits
Eating seasonally and shopping local can actually lower your carbon footprint.
Food harvested from local farms has to travel less, which means fewer greenhouse gas emissions associated with storage and distribution of produce. And, there’s less packaging and processing, which leaves all of us with less waste.
And, smaller, local farms are often more environmentally friendly in practice. They typically use less fossil-fuel rich pesticides or fertilisers, and contribute to a healthier variety of plants and animals by taking care of the local ecosystem.
The cost benefits
Good for you, good for the planet and – good for your wallet! Thank gawd.
When in season, fresh produce is in usually in abundance, so there’s plenty to go around. And, if you buy locally, your goodies haven’t had to travel far so there’s less costs for the farmer.
Yep, that means cheaper for you!
Where to find seasonal food?
The best way? Your local farmer’s market. If you go often enough, you’ll notice the produce change. And, you can also chat to the farmers to learn more about seasonality, what they have available and what environmental factors might have impacted their harvest.
Or, you can grow your own!
We’ve got some special and yum seasonal recipes en route to help you walk the walk, so stay tuned!