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October’s 31 Days of Real Food-Day 21

by Olivia Furlow

produce-suzanne

Day 21-Eat Seasonally

Check out this awesome link for seasonal food! It will ask your permission to use your current location and then boom a list of abundance awesome seasonal food!

http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalfoodguide/

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.

Before global transportation was as speedy and common as it is today, eating seasonally and locally were just things everyone did. No one assumed you could get peaches in the winter, or winter squash in the summer. Those things were part of enjoying that season.

For most of us, eating seasonally is a foreign concept. Many people don’t even know that foods have a season, let alone what foods are in season at any given time of year. In the US, we enjoy practically unlimited access to any food at any time of the year. We tend to lose sight of the seasonal rhythm of life, relying heavily on processed foods and a worldwide distribution system that makes our grocery shelves look the same pretty much all year round. This results in loss of flavor and nutrition and an increase in wax coatings, chemical ripening agents, and other preservatives in an attempt to prolong shelf life and reduce natural spoilage of our produce.

One of the biggest reasons to eat seasonally is because it allows you to eat locally-grown produce. 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. If your kale has to be transported a couple thousand miles and then sits in a warehouse for a day or two, it’s not nearly as nutritious as you might have hoped and it most likely won’t taste as good either. Local food is seasonal and fresh! It’s usually picked just hours or days before you buy it. Also, seasonal food always keeps it interesting. With each season a new crop of foods becomes available that you haven’t had for an entire year.

But eating locally in February? Can it be done? Absolutely! We often associate seasonal with summertime but that is not the case. There are a number of foods that make winter their season. Imagine cooking satisfying, fresh, and wholesome meals in the cold of winter. Many farmers’ markets close down for the winter but that doesn’t mean produce closes down too, a lot of local farms sells produce throughout the cold months. Curious about where to buy local, seasonally produce in the winter?! I did all the homework and am working on something. So more information to come on winter produce availabilities soon… 🙂

Locally grown seasonal foods often harmonize with our nutritional needs. For example, the beta carotene in the orange pigment of pumpkins and other squash will help bolster your immune system just in time to help fend off winter colds. And the oils of nuts, fats in their purest form, will provide nutrient-rich calories that help keep you warm as the temperature drops. Seasonal foods can trigger memories of special days and seasons of our lives. Sweet, juicy watermelon with the memory of fireflies and fireworks. Fragrant hearty soups that are comforting and cozy while watching the snow fall outside.

 

 

 

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