Eating Seasonally The Locavore Way Of Life

The global quality of the marketplace today allows us to buy any type of food we desire at any time, but this isn’t necessarily sustainable or healthy for the environment. By embracing the “locavore” way of life and choosing food in season where you live, you can reduce the cost and petroleum required for long distance shipping. Eating seasonally also ensures fresher food when it reaches your table, making it healthier for your family and the environment, while supporting local farms and businesses at the same time.

To embrace the locavore lifestyle, you’ll need to know which foods grow in your particular climate at any given time.

Locavore Food and Seasonality

If you’re new to the locavore lifestyle, online seasonality charts can guide you to appropriate and delicious locavore food options during almost any season, except the dead of winter. Even then, you may still be able to enjoy preserves and fresh tubers, such as sweet potatoes.

As you begin eating seasonally, a few simple tips and rules of thumb will help you develop your own instincts regarding food seasonality and keep you from buying worn out, nutrient-low strawberries shipped to your supermarket on an airplane.

Eating locally also includes animals raised, slaughtered, butchered and packaged locally. There are opportunities to purchase at your local farmer’s markets or from your local animal farmer. On your next trip, look for vendors that sell meat and eggs.

A Simple Guide for the Locavore

The first vegetables available in the early spring–during March and April–are shoots, including asparagus, Brussels sprouts and leeks. As plants grow, their tender, herbaceous stems and early leaves develop. May and June are the best months to enjoy plants at this stage, including basil, mint, spinach and lettuce.

As plants continue to grow, they bloom and their flowers ripen into fruits. Peas are available in the early summer, and other blooming, fruit bearing plants may appear at the summer’s height, such as peppers, berries and tomatoes.

Still later, the larger fruits and vegetables are ready to harvest, such as watermelon, corn, pears and apples. And finally, the season arrives for the squashes and pumpkins that we see in the fall. Fall is also the season for roots, including carrots and onions.

The best way to find locavore food is to shop at local farmers’ markets, since farmers can only display and sell what they’re able to grow at any given time. By signing up for local community supported agriculture (or “CSA”), you can receive a box of seasonal and local produce from your local farmers delivered right to your door on a regular (usually weekly or bi-weekly) basis.

Benefits of Eating Seasonally

You’ll receive plenty of nutrients if you take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables and eat five servings per day. Because seasonal, locavore food doesn’t endure long trips, it retains more nutrients and tastes better than foods that are out of season.

When we begin eating seasonally, we find ourselves more knowledgeable and better connected to the foods we eat, the way they were grown and our health, the health of our community and the planet.

Resources

BBC Worldwide. (2010). Seasonality table. Retrieved August 31, 2010, from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/content/local/seasonal/table/vegetables/

SustainableTable.org. (2010). Eat seasonal. Retrieved August 31, 2010, from http://www.sustainabletable.org/shop/seasonal/

World’s Healthiest Foods. (2010). Healthy eating with the seasons. Retrieved August 31, 2010, from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=28