Doesn’t something about a strawberry signal in your mind that warmer weather is on its way? Strawberries and blueberries made their first appearance in my grocery stores this past week. Just a bit of springtime weather makes me want to splurge and buy these overpriced berries. What keeps me from doing that? Today’s experiment: Eating Seasonally.
I first learned about eating with the seasons when I lived in Europe in a small town where all the produce I bought were sold by local farmers. Hardly anything was imported, strawberries were only available for sale two weeks out of the year, and there were no pumpkins for sale the year before because an early frost killed all the plants. The more I thought about eating what was available during the season, the more the concept made sense to me.
I want to define “eating with the seasons.” It is simple. You eat that produce which is naturally available in your area during the current. During the summer, you eat lighter produce like berries and lettuces. In the winter, you eat heavier foods like potatoes, squashes, and apples. This will vary depending on what part of the country you live in and your climate.
How is this a cheaper option? Well, let’s say it’s the dead of winter and you have a craving for raspberries. There are definitely not any raspberries available locally since there are two feet of snow on the ground. This means that those raspberries in your grocery store have been grown far away in a greenhouse somewhere (or an area with a warmer climate) and shipped to your store. Because those raspberries went through so many hands before they got to your store, they are insanely expensive. Go on over to the apple section and you’ll find they are way cheaper than those delicious raspberries.
How do you know what’s in season? It’s easy. It’ll be the cheapest, most plentiful, and nicest looking produce in your grocery store. Did you check out some tomatoes in the middle of December? They looked disgusting, mealy with a funny shade of orange. Definitely not the right season. However, the butternut squash looked great and had the perfect price.
Another way to get in tune with what’s in season is to check out your local farmer’s market. It may not always be the cheapest option for buying produce, but it will always be the freshest and is a great way to learn what kinds of produce are grown in your area during that particular season. Check out localharvest.org to find a farmer’s market near you.
There is an added benefit to buying seasonal produce. It is the healthier way to go. When you buy starchy potatoes and squashes during the winter, they will fill your tummy and help you stay warmer as these high carb produce give you a little extra padding.
In the springtime and the summer, when the weather becomes warmer and you go out of doors and get active again, your lettuce salads will hydrate you and help you shed those winter pounds. Those berries and summer trees fruits like peaches and plums will cleanse your system and give you the energy to take advantage of each ray of sunshine.
There’s nothing better for your body, so go ahead and fill yourself up with what’s seasonally local. Oh, and one word of confession, we always have bananas in our house, a tropical food that’s never grown locally!
I want to hear your opinion. Eating with the seasons, yay or nay? Willing to try it? Already do it? Let me know!