Local and seasonal eating
Food. Our lives revolve around it. There’s no way to survive without food. It is part of our daily routine, usually multiple times per day. Our thoughts wander to it when we’re hungry and even when we’re not hungry but have to plan for it. Then we know, without regular food consumption our body will eventually shut down. So, we can agree that food is extremely important. But that’s not all there’s to it. Where the food we consume comes from and how it is produced is critical to us, our family, our future. So in this post, we will look at the benefits of choosing local and seasonal foods.
By choosing produce that are in season for your meals, you will end up with tastier and more flavorful meals. Just think about picking a fresh, perfectly ripe strawberry from the field, for example. It tastes way better than strawberries that have been harvested before the peak, stored in a refrigerator, and transported for hours or days until it arrived in your location.
Seasonally fresh produce is more nutritionally dense, as it has gone through its natural growing and ripening rhythm. It is only picked when it is fully developed at the peak of the season. With optimal growing conditions and more sun exposure come higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants. This, of course, is extremely beneficial to our health, by keeping us healthy, detoxifying our bodies, and can even prevent diseases from developing.
Protect the environment
Locally grown, seasonal food has the biggest benefit for our planet. It takes less resources to grow, store and transport your food. That means less energy for artificial heating or lighting is used. Fuel emissions and transportation cost are also lowered when you buy your produce from local farmers instead from a different country or continent. A simple trick is to keep an eye out for minimal packaging; the less packaging a food has, the less energy and chemicals expended, and the less waste produced. When you do buy packaged fruits or veggies, check the label for the “made in …” stamp.
From experience I can say, humans tend to go for what is familiar to them and what they know they like. This is not the best approach in the produce aisle when you’re trying to eat seasonal and local. Because sometimes the things you like most are just not in season. No big deal. Try something new, expand your culinary horizons. You might even discover a new favorite dish. This will bring some nice variety to your plate and support your body (and immune system) with the various nutrients it needs to function properly.
Plain and simple. When a fruit or vegetable is in season, it's abundant and available at a lower price. Looking back on recent years, Avocados are the best example of that. They became so popular all year round, that the price skyrocketed. Not only do they require an extraordinary amount of costly resources and labor in order to grow, they only grow naturally in certain areas leading to high transportation costs for many consumers.
What’s in season?
The above is great to know, right? But sometimes it can be hard to know what is actually in season right now. Going to a local farmers market is probably the easiest way to ensure local and seasonal eating. If you don’t have the option to visit one of those, it can be a bit tricky to make the right choices at the grocery store. We’re here to help! Check out the below overview to make your seasonal choices:
But please be aware, local and seasonal eating looks a bit different depending on where you are geographically located. I am writing this from the Swiss point of view, so if you’re living in a much warmer or colder area, you might need to adjust your seasonal produce list a bit. 😊
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