Eating Seasonally: Part 1

We're exploring the topic of seasonality. We'll find out what eating seasonally actually means and what the benefits are.
Eating seasonally simply means eating food as it's grown and harvested.
Eating seasonally simply means eating food as it's grown and harvested.

Hey MOB - it’s Soph. Today we’re chatting seasonality and why you should care about it.

Foodies wax lyrical about eating seasonally all the time. It’s mentioned on cookery programmes and recipes alike. Seasonal ingredients act as a selling point across restaurant menus; yet have you ever wondered what does this actually mean?

What is “Eating Seasonally”?

Put simply, eating seasonally means eating food as it is grown and harvested. For years this way of eating was simply a way of life, not a choice. You ate the fruit and veg available to you at that given time of the year.

Now, because of our globalised food trade eating seasonally is no longer a necessity. We're privileged to have supermarkets stocked with an abundance of different fruit and veg all year round. Given our access to such an array of ingredients it may then sound counter-intuitive to limit our variety of fresh fruit and veg in favour of eating seasonally.

Sometimes my body cries out for a veg heavy stir fry, filled with pak choi, sugar snaps and countless other non-native greens. At that point I’d rather listen to what it wants than deny myself a whack of vitamins in the quest for seasonal eating.

That’s not to say that wherever possible I don’t at least try and eat seasonally.

Strawberries are their juiciest taste the best when they're fresh and in season.
Strawberries are their juiciest taste the best when they're fresh and in season.

What are the benefits of eating seasonally?

  1. Seasonal food = local food. I’m not talking food grown down the road from you here unless you’re super lucky and live in close proximity to a farm. Seasonal food does generally mean that it’s been grown in your own or a neighbouring country. Eating this produce means you are supporting the local economy with your buying choices.
  2. Fresher and tastier. As the food has less distance to travel it is picked at prime ripeness making for the sexiest fruit and veg. Think of it this way, have you ever been on holiday and thought, ‘ Wow I’ve never tasted a (delete as appropriate) tomato, mango, orange that good before?’ Well, eat some British asparagus now and I guarantee you’ll have the same feeling.
  3. Excitement. Call me a food geek, I genuinely look forward to tasting the first irony purple sprouting broccoli when it comes out in February, and the field grown, juice-dribbling-down-your-chin strawberries at the start of summer. Like all good shoppers know, the satisfaction of any purchase is far greater when you really REALLY want something. I mean I’ve had a pair of trainers open on my laptop screen for at least a week now…
  4. Better for the planet. With less distance to travel than its imported counterparts, seasonal food doesn’t require the same levels of transportation often leading to smaller CO2 emissions. This isn’t always the case as the carbon footprint of an ingredient grown on a field in Europe may be the same as that same ingredient grown locally, but in a greenhouse for example. Yet as a general rule of thumb eating seasonally is better for the environment. A broccoli head grown in Cornwall will obviously have a smaller carbon footprint than one grown in Peru and flown to the UK.
  5. Appreciation. Understanding the conditions needed for your fruit and veg to grow, even at the most basic level: ’berries come out in the summer, so they need warmth and sunlight to grow’ gives you greater gratitude for what you eat, which in turn reminds you not to waste food.
Eating seasonally significantly reduces carbon emissions. It's a no brainer.
Eating seasonally significantly reduces carbon emissions. It's a no brainer.

Once you begin to look into the benefits of eating seasonally they are hard to ignore.

Earth MOB: Check It Out

If you’re reading this MOB we’re guessing you care about sustainability; you amazing human. Check out ur latest book, Earth MOB. It’s our no frills, practical guide for being better in the kitchen covering everything from saying no to plastic and food waste, to confidence boosting recipe ideas and facts on what are the most planet friendly food choices. We know you’ll love it.

Stay Tuned for the Next Instalment of Green MOB

We’ll break seasonality down even further: chatting about which ingredients are in season now and what you can do about it.

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