In such a global world, we are able to get just about any food anywhere and anytime. Feel like having a mango? You can get them from the Philippines or Mexico off-season. Need some rhubarb for that rhubarb-strawberry pie you’ve been craving, despite it being the middle of autumn? Head to Whole Foods around the corner to find rhubarb imported from Holland.
Though it might be nice to have every kind of food at the tip of your fingers, it is unfortunately not sustainable. Eating seasonally and locally isn’t just better for the planet, it’s also better for your health.
Here are the top reasons why eating seasonally and locally is better:
- Better quality: They are harvested in season and are sold before the season is over, so you really get the freshest produce. By buying fruits and vegetables locally you are also minimizing the distance they are transported, and therefore lowering the risk of the fruits spoiling before they get to you.
- Cheaper: It will be easier on your wallet since harvesting in season costs less. The money farmers spend is distributed across an abundance of produce but just a small patch. You also cut out costs of transportation and manual labor (think of the number of people involved in exporting the produce out of a country and importing them into another).
- Variety: It’s actually very exciting to go to the farmer’s market to see what fruits and vegetables are in season. You know you are getting the freshest food and you can get creative and try out so many different recipes based on what you find. You’ll start associating foods with a season. And every year, you’ll be excited that you get to make that recipe again! For example, every winter I’m so excited to make my Pear, Parsnip and Truffle Soup again, but I wouldn’t want to have it all year round, as I would probably get sick of it plus it gets so hot here that the only soup I want is gazpacho!
Here is a list of which produce will start appearing in the farmers markets (specifically in California):
Avocado, Blood oranges, Carrots, Snap peas
Artichoke, Strawberries, Tomatillos
Heirloom tomatoes, Mixed berries, New potatoes
Apricot, Cherries, Cucumbers
Corn, Figs, Okra, Mulberries, Plums, Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios
Eggplant, Grapes, Melon, Passion fruit, Peaches, Nectarines, Corn
Apples, Asian pears, Shelling beans
Persimmons, Pomegranate, Winter Squash
Beets, Brussels, Mushrooms
If you don’t have time to go to a farmers market, or if there isn’t one near you, there are plenty of companies that send CSA boxes full of seasonal produce straight to your doorstep. Here are a few: