Whilst spending a blustery afternoon on the moor, picking bilberries, it soon dawned on me how little I had considered the seasonality of fruit and vegetable before.
Thinking about it now, it seems obvious that pumpkins are in season during autumn and strawberries in summer (think Wimbledon). However, in an age when we can buy most items quickly and easily in a supermarket, regardless of the season, I found myself almost shocked at this much-needed reminder. In a past poll, BBC reported that ‘fewer than one in 10 Brits’ know when their food is in season (Guardian 2014). This comes as no surprise.
Resolved to make more considered food choices going forward, I challenge you to do the same. Here are just a few benefits of adopting a seasonal approach to your fruit and vegetable consumption.
The Benefits of Eating Seasonally
Supporting local farmers and businesses
One very important benefit of shopping seasonally is your ability to financially support independent and local farmers and businesses, who rely on your custom. Choosing to buy locally not only benefits those businesses but also your wider community as a whole, in creating economic opportunities and prosperity, such as fruit picking opportunities. Knowing where your food was grown and its subsequent journey to your plate provides additional reassurance – transparency is key.
Reducing our carbon emissions
A biproduct of buying locally and seasonally. It is estimated that 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the production and transport of food (CO2living.com). By buying local, organic produce, you reduce the emissions from shipping, transporting and chilling imported produce.
Better tasting food
Eating fruit and vegetable in season is when they are at their best. This is when they are meant to be eaten. The taste should be riper, sweeter and more delicious! Seasonal produce is guaranteed to be full of flavour and packed full of nutrients.
When buying fruit and veg out of season, the produce is usually picked before it’s ripe and can also run the risk of being spoiled whilst in transit. Buying in season produce, guarantees better taste and ensure your food is as fresh as possible.
Seasonal produce sourced locally is often the cheapest on the market. This is because it is cheaper to harvest, transport and sell in abundance. For the savvy amongst you, buying the cheaper, seasonal food in bulk (and possibly freezing e.g. berries) can be the most cost effective meaning you can enjoy the fruit and veg for the whole season, and get it at a bargain price.
Supporting our body’s nutritional needs
Ever wonder why in winter, you seem to eat more carbs or crave a hearty vegetable stew (or maybe that’s just me!) whilst in summer, broth is not nearly as appealing? Our bodies are naturally in sync with foods growing and ripening cycles, hence why we crave different foods in different seasons. By following seasonal produce, we can introduce a wide variety of food and vegetable into our diets.
Furthermore, seasonal products have properties that vital to our body’s nutritional needs in the different seasons. For instance, clementine’s in winter provide additional Vitamin C to protect us from colds and viruses.
Swipe to see what fruits and vegetables are in season throughout the year.