Eating with the seasons is an age-old philosophy and the best, most cost-effective way to choose your produce, as Georgia Harding discusses.
The health food industry is funny in the way it takes a simple food or food philosophy and creates a new fad. My approach to diet is very much fad-free and stress-free. I prefer to rely on nature to dictate the foods that serve me and my family members’ bodies best. So for me, one of the overriding principles behind choosing what to eat and when, is simply the seasons. Before global transportation was as speedy and commonplace as it is today, eating seasonally and locally were just things everyone did – so it’s really not as trendy as it sounds!
Eating seasonally carries benefits to your health, the planet and your wallet. The changing of the seasons provides us with the unique opportunity to buy a variety of fantastic foods that are only available during that particular season. I have to say, as we come into summer, I’m super excited to again enjoy the amazing variety of fruits and vegetables available in our wonderful temperate climate, especially the new season mangoes, lychee and stone fruits.
Four very good reasons to eat seasonally
1. Deliciousness: There are no two ways about it – food that is fresh and in a season will always taste way better than something that’s been in storage for 12 months or is on its way out of season.
2. Health benefits to boot: Seasonally fresh produce is generally picked when it is ripe and fully developed. Ideally, this means you’re getting fruits and vegetables that haven’t had time to lose their flavour or their health benefits whilst sitting in a transport dock. Eating seasonally is also a great way to try new foods and extend the variety of foods we eat which is so important nutritionally.
3. Save some cash: Simple supply and demand. When there’s an abundance of a product, such as a watermelon in the summer, the prices go down. Seasonal food is much cheaper to produce for the farmers who would rather sell their products for a lower price, than not at all. If your food is locally produced, there’ll be even more savings as there will be less transport and storage costs pushing the prices up.
4. Support our precious environment: Seasonal produce can grow without too much human
intervention ie. pesticides and genetic modification. When your food is also locally produced, this reduces the load on our environment due to a reduction in transport or “food mileage”. So by choosing local and seasonal food, you are also more likely to be consuming a cleaner food that’s more nutritious with less chemicals used to grow it.
When you buy foods that are not in season you are giving up all the wonderful benefits associated with purchasing seasonal foods. I make a conscious effort to buy seasonal foods and to support my local farmers that, in turn, makes me feel connected to the food that I feed my family, as well as providing me with a bounty of delicious foods to enjoy.
I believe embracing the natural rhythm of things also helps simplify our lives. The options are limited but this way we can always trust that our food is nourishing and good for us!