It’s all very well to want to follow the seasons with the food you buy, prepare and eat … but if you’re not growing it yourself in your garden, allotment or smallholding (let alone a farm) it can be difficult to know what foods are in season and which aren’t.
This is because of the way that the modern food industry in the industrialised countries is structured currently. With the current-day luxury of being able to have, for example, herbs and salad leaves grown in Africa & air-freighted overnight to Europe, or forced in greenhouses closer to home – why shouldn’t we have spring greens instead of brussels sprouts with our Christmas lunch?
The answer to this is that while it is possible to have mangos, avocados and strawberries year-round, should we? Should we be forcing plants to grow, flower and fruit in hothouses, or be air-freighting apples in cold-storage from New Zealand to England?
Increasingly, I’m leaning more towards no, we shouldn’t. Yes, I completely agree that it’s incredibly convenient to have foods available year-round. Especially if a child will happily eat any fruit, as long as it’s a grape. But this is short-selling both the child (in not gently forcing them to widen their horizons) and the environment. And I’ve not even touched on the nutritional and health benefits gained by eating food when it’s at it’s best!
The British Nutrition Federation supports the move towards eating seasonal foods: “We recommend that people eat fruit and vegetables in season,” says their spokeswoman Sarah Stanner. “Fresh fruit and vegetables have higher vitamin C content, and they are also cheaper and more available.
Vitamins degrade over time and with storage, so the fresher the better. Also, if things have been in transit for a long time, vitamin C levels go down. And the longer the shelf life of produce, the more preservatives you have got to add to it.”
quote courtesy of Saga Magazine
So, for your convenience, here are some sites that have wonderful seasonal food calendars to help you determine what food is in season for you, wherever you live:
- United Kingdom seasonal food calendar
- Australian seasonal food calendar
- New Zealand seasonal food calendar
- United States seasonal food calendar
- Canada seasonal food calendar