Claire Amada Photography
Buying in Season
One big change we have made in our family is attempting to only buy/eat fruits and vegetables that are in season. After doing lots of reading about the journey our food makes to get to our dinner table we decided that in order to eat “whole” , gone will be the days of eating strawberries in January or buying Asparagus year around.
One of the main reasons that this is an important concept to grasp is because of the major effect eating out of season has on our environment. The amount of money and fossil fuel it takes to deliver watermelon from Chile to the U.S. is unbelievable. We are depleting our earths resources at an incredible rate because of our new way of thinking that we should be able to have what we want whenever we want it.
According to the National Defense Council; in the U.S. alone our produce travels an average of 1500 miles to get to our table. This brings us to another important point about eating “in season”. In order for fruits and vegetables to make that trip they must be harvested way before they are ripe. This cuts down on that very important ground/sun time these items need to meet their best nutrient potential. In theory you are eating vegetables that you are paying more for that are not at their best. You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes that didn’t have all their parts so why are we buying our produce that way?
Now don’t get me wrong this is not an easy task at all! It is pretty easy in the Spring and Summer but the Fall and Winter are brutal. Do not fret though I plan on giving you a list each season of produce that is season friendly and I will go one step further and give you recipes that will help you bring that produce to your table.
I truly count my blessing because of where I get to live. Being a resident of the Central Valley of California I am surrounded by one of the biggest agricultural areas in the U.S., fresh produce is available to me. For those of you who do not have that luxury I recommend shopping for your produce either at Whole Food Market or even better try to locate a local produce co-op in your area. A produce co-op works like this, local farmers join the co-op, they provide whatever produce they grow in that season (usually organic), you buy into the co-op and one day a week you go pick up your produce from your drop off station. The exciting thing about this is that you never really know what produce will be in your box! Once you get it you plan your meals around your box of yummy fresh produce. To find a co-op near you go to http://www.coopdirectory.org/. You can also ask around at your local health food store or organic produce market and they can put you in touch with the local co-op in your area.