The Importance & Joy Of Eating Seasonally (+ a complete list of seasonal summer produce & recipes!)
Nothing speaks deeper to a foodie's heart than the joys of fresh, local summer produce. There's something special about the anticipation of waiting a whole year for your favorite fruits and vegetables to come into season. Sure, you can buy most things canned, frozen, or even imported from overseas; yet knowing you only get to gorge on fresh, local blueberries once a year makes it all that more precious. Unfortunately, we've been conditioned away from the simple life pleasure of eating seasonally. Technology, transportation, and modern agricultural methods have given consumers year-round access to food, even when it doesn't make sense geographically and climatically. For instance, eating a banana in North Dakota in the middle of January? At one time, that would've been impossible. Now, though, we are able to transport bananas by the truckload all the way from Ecuador without further thought. This does, however, warrant further thought.
The Importance And Joy Of Eating SeasonallyFrom a primitive standpoint, we evolved to eat with the seasons. Our ancestors' diets reflected what nature provided throughout the year. Not what we wanted from nature at any given moment. Though our our ancestors were nomadic creatures, they couldn't instantaneously migrate from north to south as the seasons changed whenever they got a hankering for a banana smoothie. From a biological perspective, our bodies crave certain foods based on the climate. When you're laying on the beach in Mexico, your body isn't asking to be fed a hot and steamy bowl of beef stew. Chances are, it wants a platter of freshly cut tropical fruit (and maybe a margarita or two). ;) There are some traditional cultures and practices remaining, such as seen in Ayurveda, that still embraces these nuances. Somewhere in Western culture, conveniently frozen packets of instant dinners, and fad diets, however, we've lost touch with the art of eating seasonally. This can also largely be attributed to our disconnect from where our food comes from and how it's being grown. Ecologically speaking, seasons are important for the land — there is a time for growth and time for rest. If only humans were more in tune with these ebbs and flow to life as reflected in nature. Every plant has its season for bearing fruit and its season to retract and spend time pouring energy into deepening its roots. Then there's the season for producing seed so the next generation of plants may come forth. Hmm... sounds a lot like the seasons in our own lives.
The Financial Impact Of Eating SeasonallyLet's not forget the final piece to the puzzle — the financial impacts of eating seasonally. When produce is abundant, it makes more financial sense to buy it then than when it's the wrong season. Local farmers will, naturally, be growing more of these seasonal foods. More farmers growing these foods means more competition. More competition means a better price for the consumer. A quick browse through your local farmers market will quickly reveal to you just what is in season. Those zucchinis are probably being sold for cheap because the farmer has them coming out his ears! It's a great time to stock up and go crazy preserving, canning and freezing these glorious summer fruits and vegetables. Now depending on where you live, this guide to seasonal produce will differ. But as a general rule of thumb, summertime (in the United States) means an abundance of the following fruits and vegetables for a limited time, so enjoy them while you can!
- Bell Peppers
- Green Beans
- Lima Beans
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Summer Squash
- Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Passion Fruit
Get More Joy From Seasonal Eating With These Recipes:
- Raspberry Chocolate Fat Bombs
- Anti-Stress Strawberry Smoothie
- Gluten-Free Blueberry Balsamic Cookies
- One-Pot Southwestern Beans & Rice
- Roasted Beet & Garlic Dip
- Strawberry & Spinach Salad
- Red Rice Salmon Blueberry Salad
- Paleo Brazilian Fish Stew
- Paleo Eggplant Chili
- Indonesian Vegetable Curry
- Vegan Vegetable Coconut Curry