You've probably heard over and over that we should be eating seasonal local and fresh produce, but have you ever wondered why?
Eating in harmony with the seasons is not only nourishing, it is also cheaper and better for the environment. Here's why. It wasn't so long ago that we had no choice but to eat seasonally “before modern technology and our ability to import and export goods, we relied solely on local produce. Nowadays, supermarkets stock common fruit and vegetables year-round. In main cities, you can often buy mango in Autumn, oranges in Summer and Berries in Winter. This is possible as they’ve often been grown in artificial conditions or freighted large distances.
Food Miles is a term that measures the fuel used to transport a food item during the journey from producer to consumer. According to the 2008 Community Environment Parks Food Miles Report; calculating road transport alone, our shopping basket has still travelled 21,073 km, almost the whole way around Australia's coastline.
The resulting greenhouse gas emissions estimate for all food transporting trucks carrying these 25 items on any given day is the equivalent of 2,830 cars driving for a whole year. And that's just for one shopping basket of 25 items. If you decide to skip the supermarket visit and head to your local farmers market, expect to find produce that is in season. Local producers are only growing what they can, when they can, depending on the temperature so it’s unlikely that you will encounter strawberries in the middle of Winter! I love my local markets and notice a huge difference in quality and taste of my fruit and veg.
I can't recommend market shopping enough - Life changer! Sourcing your food from local producers means less energy is used to grow food artificially and transport it from other climate zones, and it could be argued that less pesticides have been used as the food has been grown in its own environment. It makes sense that in cooler months when we are more likely to experience colds and flus, that lemons “high in Vitamin C“ are in season.
And while in Summer it is beneficial to cool the body with salads and fruits, in Autumn and Winter we are more wanting to crave hearty stews and root vegetables. Eating seasonally is a clever way of getting in the nutrients we need for each season. Root vegetables are in season during winter, when it's cold, perfect for when we need to cook up stews and roasts. Eating in season produce provides us with the vitamins and minerals we require and helps us meet our altering needs as the temperature changes. +
Look out for apples, plums, figs, quinces, asparagus, kiwifruit, pumpkins, snow peas, lemons, pears, persimmons, beetroot, eggplant and sweetcorn¦ and because they’ve been grown locally they should be fresher and tastier. Autumn foods should be rich in antioxidants (sweet potato, pumpkin, parsnips and turnips), fibre (Leeks and onions) and vitamin C (grapefruit, oranges, kiwifruit, lemons and limes). And if you’re keen to experiment, plant your own vegetable garden. It's the best way to know exactly how your food has been grown. What you’ll plant now will be harvested during Winter and Spring. Try kale (start in seed trays in a protected area), radish and spinach, peas, cauliflower and broccoli. Talk to your local nursery about the best areas in your garden to plant and look at food wastage from the kitchen that can be used for compost. It just makes sense to work with the natural rhythms of seasonal foods. Aren’t things so much easier when you go with the flow rather than work against it? Your diet is no exception. Eat well and choose wisely! T xx