In more normal circumstances, the world is getting far more user friendly, and it seems we are heading to the point where we can get what we want to eat, when we want to eat it, just by popping to the supermarket. This is definitely the case when it comes to fruit and vegetables.
Gone are the days when you had a small handful of options when it came to produce shopping. Now, you can have stone fruits in winter, mandarins and kiwis in the summer and apples in an array of varieties are available all year round.
This all seems so convenient but just because we can eat what we want year round, should we? How are these foods grown and where are they coming from? Do they really taste as good out of season? And what kind of repercussions can there be for our health and environment?
Studies have shown that eating the right kinds of foods during the right times of year can be crucial to a healthy lifestyle (1) by way of reconnecting us with the organic cycle nature intended for us. Also, seasonal produce is generally harvested at its peak so it retains its full nutrient and vitamin content. Because it has naturally ripened on the vine or in the ground, it will have a more complex and rich flavour. One thing is for certain, there is nothing better than a delicious, ripe strawberry in early summer! Yum!
Many of the out-of-season fruit and veg we see at the local supermarkets are being glossed and sprayed with preservatives and waxes in order to keep looking fresh. We don’t know about you but the idea of consuming unknown quantities of any type of chemical is not ideal and there are many studies to suggest that the consumption of these artificial or chemical preservatives (2) can lead to serious health problems.
A lot of the out-of-season fruit and vegetables we see in the supermarkets come to us from overseas which can lead to some pretty hefty environmental costs that are usually concealed from the consumer. Choosing to eat locally sourced, seasonal produce reduces the number of food miles (3) it has to make before it reaches your table. Along with conserving fossil fuels, small family farms produce less environmental waste in the form of carbon monoxide, pesticide use, and chemical fertilizers. They are also less likely to utilize giant processing and sorting machines that contribute to environmental decay.
We highly recommend, when you can, you purchase your produce at a local market or stall. You’ll know the food is local, farm fresh, full of nutrients, better for the environment and you will be supporting local business.
With winter fast approaching, what are our best bets for in season produce? Here are a list of our favourites:
Check out one of our favourite winter seasonal recipes that is perfect for your Fressko!