These days there’s a real focus on locally sourced, seasonal produce and with good reason. While it might be bandied around and trussed up as the latest trend, really, seasonal eating is just us reminding ourselves of what we’ve been doing forever: eating what’s there.
Long before the advent of fridges, freezers and modern convenience food, our ancestors relied on the fruits of the fields to sustain them, and while we’ve now got every single food you could ever want/imagine/desire on hand 24/7 there’s so many reasons why keeping an eye on the seasons is brilliant.
Here’s a few:
Mother (Nature) knows best:
There’s a reason our bodies crave different foods throughout the year. Hearty, wholesome foods like root vegetables keep us warm, full and well fuelled through the colder months, while the fruits and berries of summertime give the cooling and hydrating hit we need. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing and puts it out there for us, right when we need it. Hence, it’s always worth raiding her larder to see what treats await.
They taste amazing!
Those off the vine tomatoes, succulent summer strawberries, freshly picked asparagus… The ones that taste amaaazing! Well they taste just like they’re supposed to. Food that’s grown out of season, imported or engineered, often loses some of that magic (because it’s older, packed with preservatives, jet-lagged) whereas seasonal supplies straight from the field are simply bursting with flavour.
It’s good for you
Eating seasonally puts the emphasis on fresh, local and natural. Seasonal usually refers to fruit and veggies (but also meat and fish) meaning that you’re already talking the nutritional bit hitters. Including a varied, colourful range of these wholesome foods in your diet packs a real nutritional punch and you can enjoy all the health benefits that brings with it.
It might save you a bob or two…
That cabbage grown down the road and wheel-barrowed over to the farm shop costs less to get to you than those Peruvian asparagus. And that’s reflected in the price, meaning local and seasonal is often much cheaper. When a farmer has an abundance (‘cos it’s in season) prices are driven even further down meaning you’re going to get most bang for your buck. Local seasonal produce often goes for a song at markets, in greengrocers’ shops or direct from the farm – make the most of the glut and support local businesses while you’re at it.
Helps our planet!
Even in supermarkets, the seasonal produce is cheaper than usual and that’s because they’ve saved on that plane ticket. Those Peruvian asparagus travelled about 6000 miles to get here. Seasonal veggies that are home-grown and less well travelled not only means they’re fresher when they land in your shopping bag but that you’ve done the planet a huge favour by reducing your food mileage.
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While we’re at it, eating seasonally will support independent UK growers, producers and suppliers. Supermarkets usually list the country of origin on packaging and by picking our home-grown delights you’re boosting the economy as well as helping the environment. If you have a local market, greengrocer or farm, even better – make sure you stop for a chat if you can, the better they know you, the better service you’ll get (and sometimes even the odd freebie!)
Variety is the spice of life
Wandering around the supermarket or doing your online shop, it’s easy to get stuck in a food rut, eating the same things week in week out. By keeping an eye on what in season, and particularly by shopping locally in person, you can keep things interesting by introducing different foods to your diet throughout the year.
Cook it real good
Eating seasonally inevitably means cooking with raw, fresh ingredients so enjoy experimenting and play with your food. If you love cooking then treat it as a challenge to try new recipes. Get the creative juices flowing with your favourite cookery books or try pinterest and instagram for all sorts of inspiration. If you’re a more reluctant chef then try substituting seasonal fruit and veggies in dishes you already know and love, or popping something different in your packed lunch.
Be at one with the seasons!
People say we’re losing our connection with nature. Up here in Yorkshire, we’re lucky enough to get out and about as often as we can to enjoy the most marvellous ever-changing scenery that surrounds us. Eating seasonally is an extension of this. Fat pies, steaming casseroles and roasted veggies make us feel all warm and cosy in winter, while light salads, fresh fruit platters and zingy new potatoes have us bouncing around in summertime. You change your clothes for the season, so why not your food?
So there you have it.
Seasonal eating isn’t some new, trail-blazing fad and it doesn’t mean drastically changing your habits, it’s simply appreciating and making the most of all the lovely food that’s on offer, right on our own doorstep.
We’ll be posting soon about ways you can embrace the seasons and every month we’re going to be doing a blog focused on the month ahead sharing our favourite picks of the produce, as well as recipes and ideas to make the most of nature’s bounty.