ABOUT EAT THE SEASONS
With an increasingly urbanized population, awareness of when and where various foods are produced has dwindled. Imports from around the world ensure that supermarket shelves look the same week in week out.
Eat the Seasons aims to promote an understanding of food seasons. Each week we list the seasonal foods that are at their peak, and share enlightening facts, useful tips and enticing recipe ideas picked from the web and our favourite books.
Fruit and vegetables make up a large number of the foods we focus on, but seafood and meat are also featured. Given the climatic differences across North America we do not attempt a comprehensive listing of all local foods but instead focus on the main seasonal produce from across the region, whether that be Californian pomegranates or kohlrabi from Quebec. See food seasons for an explanation of how the seasons indicated relate to areas of North America, and refer to the incredibly useful Eat Well Guide for links to state-by-state listings of seasonal food.
WHY EAT THE SEASONS?
There are a number of good reasons to eat more local, seasonal food:
- to reduce the energy (and associated CO2 emissions) needed to grow and transport the food we eat
- to avoid paying a premium for food that is scarcer or has travelled a long way
- to support the local economy
- to reconnect with nature's cycles and the passing of time
but, most importantly, because
- seasonal food is fresher and so tends to be tastier and more nutritious
We feel that it is important to consider the environmental impact of our food choices - such as food miles (the distance food travels, or more importantly the energy consumed, in getting it from place of production to our table) - but we don't advocate denying the pleasures of imports not widely grown in North America, such as pineapples and bananas. Indeed, buying imported food can help make a much needed contribution to developing countries' economies (although you may want to check out the food's fair trade credentials if you want to be sure that producers aren't being screwed).
We do, however, think it's a bit silly to buy asparagus flown in from South America, or lamb shipped from New Zealand, when for many weeks or months of the year you can feast on far superior native versions - often at a lower cost financially as well as environmentally. And whenever a particular ingredient goes out of season, you can guarantee that another delicious food has come back into season to tempt us all. Ultimately, Eat the Seasons is about enjoyment not abstinence. But people who are interested in food quality and have an awareness of when certain ingredients are at their best will, quite naturally, end up eating MORE of the foods in season and LESS of those shipped half-way around the world.
Of course even when a food is in season its quality can vary dramatically. Food produced locally, e.g. bought from a farmers’ market, is likely to be a lot fresher than its supermarket equivalent. Meat produced with respect for the animals concerned will inevitably be far superior to intensively-reared animals that are likely to have spent pitiful lives in abhorrent conditions.
We hope you have as much fun using the site as we have putting it together. Visit the site every week and you’ll be kept up-to-date with which foods are best NOW, making it easy to buy and eat seasonally. So say goodbye to monotonous, mediocre meals and discover the world of sublime and sensational seasonal foods.