When it comes to eating, in some ways, life’s never been better. If you have the money and a craving, you can eat a ripe fig, melon or avocado at any time in the year.
Before refrigeration, people had to eat whatever they grew once it was picked. And then they had to dry, salt or pickle whatever was leftover.
But huge refrigerated warehouses and air transport have changed all that. Now, a melon can travel from its field in France to your kitchen work-top in just a few days.
But there’s a growing trend across the world towards eating fruit and vegetables grown in your own region and whatever is being harvested right now.
What’s the advantage?
- On a big scale, it means cutting down on the transport it takes to get that melon to your table – which means less impact on the environment.
- Next, it means more business for local growers, which leads to more employment and a better life all-round.
- For you and I: we get to pay less. And, if you don’t believe me, compare the price of an avo grown in Limpopo and harvested in March with the price of an imported one in January.
How do I know what’s in season?
Whatever you see being traded by street vendors, or in abundance at the produce side of the grocery store is in season. In summer you’ll see every kind of berry, for instance, while in winter there are all sorts of citrus fruit on the shelves.
5 reasons to eat what’s in season
- The taste: Freshly-picked fruit or vegetables have the best flavour – crispy, juicy and colourful! Big supermarket chains have to keep huge amounts of fruit chilled, and you end up with that cold-storage cardboard taste.
- Vitamins and minerals: Seasonally fresh produce is picked when ripe, which means the plant has had more sun. The riper the fruit, the more of everything it has to offer = better nutrition.
- Economy: When there’s a lot of watermelons, the prices go down, which adds up to great savings on the food-bill.
- The Environment: Seasonal produce usually means that plants don’t have to be changed by scientists to cope with more heat or cold than they’re naturally used to. Also, not having to be flown/shipped across continents or oceans means less wear-and-tear on the planet.
- Building community: Sourcing your food locally strengthens small farmers in your community and surrounding areas. Eating what’s in season gives back to food-producers right here at home.
Joanne Hart for HelloDoctor.com
See our infographic for a quick look at what veggies are in season right now: 5 Super Autumn Veggies!