There was a time in the not too distant past when we ate artichokes and asparagus in the spring and cabbage and cauliflower in the fall because, well, that’s when they were grown and available.
But these days, thanks to technology and global distribution, we’re able to eat virtually anything we want when we want. Nevertheless, health experts and chefs believe it’s still better to eat seasonally – in other words eat what’s available in your area when it’s actually in season. Here’s why:
Cooking seasonally saves you money: Fruits and vegetables grown near you didn’t have to travel very far to get to your supermarket or farmer’s market, so they’re significantly cheaper than produce that travelled thousands of kilometres.
Cooking seasonally is tastier: Foods cultivated in your area can be harvested near their peak and are less likely to spoil before they end up on your plate. Local fruits and vegetables are also less likely to have lost their flavour or vitamin and mineral content so they’re healthier too.
Cooking seasonally is more responsible: Buying local doesn’t necessarily mean the food wasn’t picked by a big food grower or distribution company or that it wasn’t stored in a massive warehouse on the way to your table. But cooking and eating seasonal produce does make it more likely that you’re supporting local farmers and businesses.
Cooking seasonally provides variety: We’ve all gotten used to not thinking much about what we buy and, for instance, simply eating potatoes or tomatoes every day because they’re always available at the supermarket. But variety truly is the spice of life and eating seasonally means teasing our palate with a wider variety of foods all year long.
But, cooking seasonally isn’t the answer to everything: There are a lot of benefits to cooking and eating fruits and vegetables grown near you and we should all make an effort to do it more. But if you really adore bananas even though there isn’t a banana plant within a 1,000 kilometres of you, don’t go bananas about it. Enjoy what you love.
Do you shop locally and eat seasonally? Please share your challenges and ideas with the Shop Talk blog community forum.
Did you know: Long distance eating
“Fresh" fruits and vegetables at your local supermarket travel, on average, 2,400 to 4,000 km before they get to you. (Source)