Seasonal Foods

By eating seasonal foods, we can nourish our bodies with foods that are sustainable, nutritious, and economically beneficial.

It's easy to stock up on pumpkin everything right now. I mean, my goodness, as soon as the air gets crisp, I have this deep urge for apples and pumpkins. And we should indulge in nature's bounty, primarily because our bodies tend to align to the season. But at times, capitalistic marketing cancels out our bodies' natural urges, and imagery and corporate narratives tell us what to crave. That said, by slowly strolling through farmer's markets or visiting (my absolute favorite seasonality resource) seasonalfoodguide.org, we can:

"find sustainable foods [for the environment] grown locally [supporting our local farmers/economy] that support our bodies' needs (and flavor profiles)"

Support our bodies' needs? Sustainable? Local economy? WHAT?

Yes, you heard me right. By merely choosing produce grown in season, we support our health, environment, farmers, and the local economy. And local foods typically taste better and cost less. 

Three E's:

In-season produce has three benefits: it's good for the environment, the economy, and it's good eating.

Environment:

Let's start the macro-level first. When we choose foods grown seasonally, guess what? They can be harvested locally. Local foods don't have to be transported from distant places to your plate. Transporting food creates significant carbon dioxide emissions - aka air pollution. Pretty much the main global warming gas. I know my Vegan/Vegetarian readers are like...if folks want to reduce greenhouse gas omission, stop eating so much meat. You are right, environmentally, just giving up one day/week of eating meat will eliminate more greenhouse gas than an entire local cuisine diet.

But we will talk "flexitarian" shortly - for now, let's chat "mula" (dinero, money, cash, the dollar).


Economy:

Y'all small local farming is in decline. Why? Because local farmers are not always making a living wage, and they are being bought out by factory farming. Without a living wage, many young people are not going into farming. That said, if we start buying locally in-season foods, we can support the industry in job creation. Job creation supports community wealth. Click the link for more on Rebuilding Our Local Food Economy. And guess what? When we buy seasonally, the food is typically far cheaper - less money spent on refrigeration, travel, and storage.


Eating:

This category could be "health," but liked the flow of "E" - so let's talk about eating all the pesticides and preservatives needed to keep fruit or veggies "alive," "well," and looking pretty for the long trip from distant lands to your grocery store. I mean, think of the difference between your vitality in a quick 30 minute trip vs. a three-day trip. So when we eat locally, we eliminate some of the "icky" pollutants from our diet. Then let's talk about the nutrients. Scientists have realized that our bodies yearn for seasonal foods for a purpose - the purpose is keeping us alive (healthy). So our bodies tend to crave citrus in the winter due to our need for Vitamin C in colder months. And seasonal foods, picked in their peak, are at their most nutrient-dense time. They are also the most flavorful during their season. In culinary school, we would discuss the importance of pickling, canning, and preserving during the fruit/vegetable season. There was a massive difference in the amount of seasoning (aka salt), a tomato in season needed vs. one out of season required.


For most folks, this article is nothing new; it's more like a reminder of simpler times. It's only been a small sliver in time that we've been able to eat out of season (outside of preservation). Before large chain grocery stores and systems of global transportation, we only had what was in front of us. We lived and ate in complete harmony with Mother Earth. We ate the arrayed abundance of what the earth gave us - our menu mirrored what the farmer reaped. I believe our bodies are still hardwired for harmonious eating and living. We have to slow down and listen to what it needs (or go to an herbalist).


Here's to polepole eating, Friends!

Shelby