I remember as a kid the excitement of seeing certain fruits and vegetables in the market as the seasons changed. We ate more root vegetables like yams in the winter, and eagerly awaited the arrival of mangoes in summer. Now due to the convenience of modern civilization, everything is available all the time. Apples used to come only from Washington State here in the USA but now they come from China also, which grows eight times as many apples as the USA.
But there is a real health cost to eating produce out of season. There is a significant cost to the environment to shipping a cucumber halfway around the world. The produce itself is likely to have been frozen or processed to help it survive the journey. It was probably picked long before its time so that it would arrive at the market on time. The real benefit of eating produce thats in season is that it is delicious and tastes as fresh as possible. I believe when food tastes fresh children are willing to try new fruits and vegetables.
The best option is to buy whatever is in season at a farmer’s market. But the question is how do you know what is in season? Sure, you can always just show up at the farmer’s market and see what they have for sale. But you can also plan ahead, and maybe ask for certain items.
The NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) website has an section where you tell them your location and the season, and gives you a list of what produce will be ‘in season’. Epicurious has a graphical map where you can select your state and get a list. The NRDC list is more comprehensive than Epicurious. Another site which is UK based but is much better designed is eatseasonably.co.uk
Buy local, Eat local, stay local!
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