Eating seasonally – is it worth it?Posted by: Vivian Trac
Seasonal produce refers to food that is available in abundance during its natural season for your region. Food that is out of season is not completely unavailable but there is less of it. As such, food is often sourced overseas.
Taste: Food grown in season is simply more delicious! Consider ripe summer tomatoes versus the ones you find in winter. The flavours are stronger and more developed, and texture is better. Food grown out of season is often transported from the other side of the world. This means that produce has to be harvested earlier and refrigerated so it doesn’t rot during transport. Crops aren’t allowed to ripen properly, and their flavours can’t be developed.
Nutrition: Fruit and vegetables achieve their full nutritional content when grown in season. Studies have found 3 times the amount of vitamin C in spinach harvested in summer versus winter. This is also true for milk, as the seasons affect what cows eat, and therefore produce. More importantly, seasonal foods often harmonise with our nutritional needs.
Cost: Food is easier to grow in its proper season, making it more abundant, less time-intensive, and more affordable for consumers. Just think of the size difference between a bunch of basil bought in the summer versus winter, for the same price. Buying seasonally when produce is abundant simply means better value for your money.
Environmental impact: Out of season produce is either grown on the other side of the world, or in greenhouses. Both methods require more resources and energy, compared to seasonal produce which are more likely to work with, rather than against, local biological and environmental systems. What’s more, overseas produce can often be full of pesticides, waxes, preservatives and other chemicals required for it to stay fresh during the journey. Seasonal eating greatly reduces the need for these practices, while reducing food miles and your carbon footprint.
Economy: Lastly, by eating seasonally, you will also be supporting local farmers and local markets.
At the end of the day though, eating seasonal produce comes down to availability of options. Choosing to eat seasonal produce means you might not be able to eat what you want, when you want. Do you think it’s worth it?