Eating locally should be synonymous with eating seasonally. However, most of us have never truly eaten seasonally. We have access to anything from tomatoes in January to lettuces in the middle of July. In some ways we understand this, we know we can’t get a watermelon or a peach in the winter. But, it’s important to apply that way of thinking to all foods. I truly believe that what grows in each season is what our body needs to be healthy and whole. Think about what is in season right now in the winter, and what we need this time of year. Potatoes, winter squash, apples, kale, collards, lettuces, leeks, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, turnips and beets. Our bodies are doing their best to fight off multiple kinds of sicknesses and each one of these vegetables is packed full of benefits that boost the immune system.
Eating seasonal can feel restrictive at first, but once you taste a sun ripe strawberry hand picked that morning – you realize the benefits and joys of doing so. You’d know that the out-of-season strawberries that show up in the middle of winter are nothing but a sad imitation of the real thing.
Why Eat Seasonally?
- Your food is ripened “on the vine” and is usually hours or at most – a couple days old. This allows for optimum nutrients in your produce without all the artificial agents used to ripen it.
- Your food has traveled a minimal distance to your table which saves you money, and our global gas consumption.
- It just plain tastes better. Produce that is picked in season is full of flavor!
- You stay in tune with the changes of the seasons, allowing yourself to consciously be present at the dinner table.
Start familiarizing yourself with a local seasonality chart like this one. Pay attention to what is showing up at your local Farmers Market and begin experimenting with different vegetables and fruits. Even compare a Farmers Market item side by side with the same item purchased at the grocery store and see what differences you find. Enjoy the pleasures of eating seasonally!
Here is a great motto:
If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then organic.
If not ORGANIC, then family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then fair trade.
If all else fails, at least don’t eat at McDonald’s!
What percentage of your diet is seasonal?