Kale and carrots have been consumed almost daily in my household over the past few weeks yet these are both winter vegetables and we are smack bang in the middle of summer. Not only am I able to purchase vegetables that wouldn’t normally grow for at least a few months but a lot of times we forgot that fruit and vegetables only grow during 1-2 seasons per year because supermarkets cold storage facilities and international buying power means that every fruit and vegetable is available all year round.
As a fruit and veggie lover I do enjoy the idea of eating kale in summer or apples in spring but this isn’t what nature intended and the benefits of eating produce that is in season far outweigh the inconvenience of not reaching for your favourites all year round.
What are the benefits of eating seasonal produce? well i’m glad you asked..
- Taste’s better -Seasonal produce taste’s better When fruit and vegetables go straight from farm to table without being preserved and shipped internationally or stored in supermarket cool rooms for up to a year its picked at peak ripeness and is full of flavour. Produce that is picked to be transported long distances or to last until a later season is picked early to ripen while in a box or refrigerated and is sprayed with chemicals so the food retailers have more control over the ripening time frame. Supermarket fruit and vegetables are often sprayed with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) or fungicides to prevent mould and slow down the decay of food (sounds gross, I know!) these chemicals can also block the chemical compounds that contribute to flavour.
- It’s Cheaper – Ever wonder why a continental cucumber costs $1 each one month and $4 the next? The process to preserve and store food or import from other countries when its not in season cost retailers money and that cost is passed onto the consumer. Produce is at its cheapest when its in season and fresh so shopping seasonally is a great way to lower your grocery bill.
- More Nutritious – Produce that is left to fully ripen naturally before being picked often contain more vitamins and antioxidants. Aside from this eating seasonally means our bodies get a larger and healthier variety of nutrients and plant vitamins that we need to help prevent diseases.
- Better for the environment – Eating seasonally is one of the easiest ways to help our planet. Locally grown food reduces the amount of resources needed to transport and store food that significantly contribute to green house emissions. Think about the amount of fuel that’s used to transport oranges from California to Australia compared to the 1 hour truck drive from the Riverland to the local market or the extra packaging and electricity used to store produce in supermarkets.
- It’s great for the community – Buying local, seasonal produce means your supporting local farmers and shopping at farmers markets also takes any guess work out of seasonal shopping because they will only be selling fruit and vegetables that are in season and freshly picked.
Here’s a quick guide to Seasonal produce in Australia.
Apricots, banana, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, currants, grapes, honeydew, nectarines,plums, strawberries, watermelon
Asparagus, beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, egg plant, leeks, pumpkins, rhubarb, sweetcorn, tomatoes, turnips, zucchini
Apples, bananas, figs, grapes, kiwi fruit, watermelon, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, quinces
Asparagus, beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, potatoes, pumpkin, snow peas, spring onions, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips, zuchhini
Banana, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, mandarins, oranges
beansprouts, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, fennel, silver beet, spinach
Bananas, cherries, grapefruit, mandarins, mango, oranges, pineapple, strawberries
Artichoke, Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, leeks, peas, rhubarb, spinach