What Does it Mean to Eat Seasonally, and Why is it Important?
Our ancestors ate whatever grew around them. It was all they had.
I, on the other hand, love being able to go to the grocery store and get whatever produce I want, no matter what time of year it is. I do NOT eat seasonally. (More on me in a moment…)
Eating seasonally means eating only foods that are growing and ripening in your local area at the time you eat them. For instance, berries tend to be in season during the summer, while Brussels Sprouts are more of a Fall/Winter food, and some foods like cauliflower are in season almost all year. (Here’s a reference chart for the US.)
One of the biggest reasons to eat seasonally is because it allows you to eat locally-grown produce. And this is very important if you’re concerned about nutrient-density. When a vegetable or fruit is picked, it quickly starts losing nutrients. In just a few days, it can often lose up to half of its vitamins and minerals.
In other words, if your kale has to be transported a couple thousand miles and then sit in a warehouse for a day or two, it’s not nearly as nutritious as you might have hoped. (And it probably doesn’t taste as good as it could, either.)
By eating seasonally – and therefore locally – you can get produce much fresher and healthier, especially if you buy from local farmers who have just picked their fruits and veggies.
Personally, I think that everybody should eat locally and seasonally as much as possible. I don’t yet do it, though. I plan on doing it, but I haven’t yet had the right level of commitment.
I mention this because I feel a little bit disingenuous giving recommendations that I don’t personally follow. Still, despite my own shortcoming, I believe it’s the best thing to do.
How about you?