Are you shopping seasonally?
This week at Local Zero, we have been trying to narrow down what it really means to buy ‘in season’ produce, and how we can help work towards supporting local suppliers to bring you the best of the best each season.
Supporting local farmers, growers, producers and businesses is a top priority for our sourcing team when looking for the most sustainable, quality produce to bring to your doorstep, via our zero-emissions electric van, and a key part of this mission is seasonality. Once we've established that we are keeping food miles to an absolute minimum, sustainability is always the next discussion point when we engage with a potential supplier partner. Eliminating the need for food to travel hundreds and even thousands of miles means you’ll be getting the best quality, British grown and fresh from the harvest produce, that tastes amazing, and is good for the planet, now doesn’t that sound fabulous?
What is shopping seasonally?
All around the world, seasons come and go bringing about changes in the the weather changes, impacting the type of produce that grows. To put it simply, eating seasonally is choosing to eat foods that are ready to harvest at the same time of year that your are eating them. We’ve all become so used to variety and choice available in supermarkets, we seem to have forgotten what is actually in season at different time of the year… there was a time where strawberries signalled the height of summer, and root vegetables were a winter staple, but in the modern retail climate, anything goes and to hell with consequences!
Why is it important to eat seasonally?
When you buy seasonal food you are supporting local farming and helping to reduce the demand for out of season produce which is generally shipped/transported from other countries. This means less refrigeration, less transportation, less artificial hothouses, less fuels and less irradiation of produce.
We've tried to sum things up in 4 clear points:
1. Environmental Impact of Growing.
As mass-consumers of imported fruit and vegetables throughout the year, but how many of us ever stop to consider ‘how’ the produce is grown? In the UK we have legislation for farmers which controls the way crops are grown, for example, soil condition and restrictions on the use of pesticides, rules which other countries are not obligated to follow, so the first point is that we cannot control over the environmental impact of growing conditions.
2. Food Miles and Carbon Footprint
Food Mile: a mile over which a food item is transported during the journey from producer to consumer, as a unit of measurement of the fuel used to transport it.
Food imported from around the world obviously has to travel, so one of the factors used when testing the environmental impact, is "food miles". Whether air freight or road haulage, if your ingredients have come a long way, they most likely have a heavy carbon footprint. We must also consider the refrigeration required and potentially added preservatives needed to make sure the food makes it to our stores in the UK in ‘ok’ condition (and we know we could write a whole new blog about what OK condition means, and the power of embracing wonky vegetables!)
Consuming food closer to its harvest is GREAT for your health. The further it has to travel to get to your plate means the longer the period for the nutrients and antioxidants (such as vitamin C) have to decline. Eating fresh produce in the correct season means your body gets exactly what it needs for the season. For example, in the winter we are provided with hardy winter vegetables for warm wholesome foods such as soups and stews, whilst in summer, seasonal fruits provide us with extra beta-carotenes and other carotenoids that help to protect us against sun damage. How clever is that?
If all else is unimportant to you, consider this, food grown and picked in season will hands down taste far riper, fresher and sweeter. Since it’s not imported it won’t have had to endure days or weeks of transported or being picked ahead of its ripeness, so it tastes just as nature intended!
How to eat seasonally
Over stocked supermarkets make it too easy to be oblivious of what’ actually in season and what’s not, so the first step to eating seasonally is to educate yourself on what that should look like.
Check the list below for what foods are in season for the time of year and aim to buy more of them when shopping.
While your favourite fruit or veg might be out of season until spring or summer 2022, why not challenge yourself to find a ‘new’ autumn/winter favourite? Try something new, push the boat out. You never know what you might discover!
Here’s a list of a few things in season for autumn/winter:
Shop our range, of local, sustainable and seasonal produce!
We’d love for you to share your favourite recipes using seasonal produce - why not tag us in a picture on Facebook or Instagram - you might inspire someone this winter!