Eating seasonally – you’ve probably heard this term come up around the food-o-sphere. This movement entails just what it sounds like: eating only produce that is grown in the current season in your area. It’s a way to eat locally and cut down on the miles your food has to travel to get to you, which in turn reduces emissions, pollution, and other negative impacts. Local food also tends to be more nutritionally valuable, as it’s inevitably fresher and richer in vitamins and nutrients. Buying locally helps support your local economy, enriching your life in more ways than one.
Seasonal eating is a fairly new term that hasn’t been around for very long; for centuries, people had to eat seasonally as food wasn’t trucked from other parts of the country – and the world – to huge grocery stores. Rather, people simply ate what the farmers had on hand.
If you’re feeling inspired to eat seasonally this fall, you’re in luck, as fall produce brings in some of the coziest, naturally delicious fruits and veggies around.
To start getting into this movement, you first need to do a little research. What’s in season in your area in the autumn? If you’re in New England, apples and butternut squash are at their ripest; in California, pomegranates and radishes are at their peak. It’s important to note that those fruits and veggies in your local grocery store are not necessarily seasonal; they may be trucked from miles away and are at their best on the other side of the country.
The easiest way to do your research is to visit your local farmers market. These farmers only come from the surrounding area and therefore will only have produce that stems from their very own farms. As an added bonus, you get to chat with the people that grew your food and connect to their processes and philosophies. On top of that, farmers market produce is usually the freshest, as it was typically harvested within 24 hours of the market’s date.
Another way to do this – without having to stop at the farmers market each week – is by signing up for a CSA. Through a CSA – or community supported agriculture – you pay the farmers a monthly or yearly cost up front, which helps them support their annual costs, and they send you a box of fresh produce every month. This is best for families, as the boxes typically come with lots of fruits and veggies, but some farmers have boxes for individuals.
When you’re shopping at farmers markets or sign up for a CSA, it’s important to commit to trying new things. You never know what new fruits and veggies you’re going to get from a farm, and they may not be those you typically buy. This is where food blogs come in: find a favorite blogger that lists their recipes by item (fruit or veggie), then browse through their recipes to find one that looks delicious to you. It’s fun to experiment with new produce, and you’ll even teach yourself some new cooking techniques!
Overall, eating seasonally is great for the environment and your health, and can teach you about your local economy and landscape. Commit to eating seasonally this month and let us know how it goes!