Have you noticed that you crave different foods at different times of year? For example, in summer you might love a fresh arugula salad with strawberries, while this wouldn't seem very appealing in the winter. Colder weather might bring a desire for a hearty stew or roasted vegetables.
It's clear that our energies and body processes naturally ebb and flow with the seasons. We can become more conscious of this and take advantage of the many benefits by engaging with the seasonal eating movement.
What Is Seasonal Eating?
Seasonal eating would have been the norm—and probably not even an option—just a few generations ago. Before trucks and planes made it easy to eat tropical fruits from faraway lands whenever we please, people would eat what was available locally during that particular season. This might mean raspberries in summer, apples in fall and squash in winter.
While our modern global mindset might make this limited culinary palette seem boring and inconvenient today, there are actually a number of benefits in terms of health, finances, community, economy and environment.
The idea is to stick with the freshest produce and consume it closer to the time that it was ripened and harvested. This is easiest to achieve with fruits and vegetables that are local to your area. Not only does this support personal health, but it creates a sense of community and strengthens the local economy.
How to Find Seasonal Foods?
Generally you can easily determine which foods are in season simply by visiting a nearby farmers' market and looking around. The items that are most plentiful and well-priced are those that are currently pouring in from the local landscape. This trend is somewhat visible at supermarkets as well, although less so.
You can also refer to seasonal eating charts like those from Eat Well Guide (www.eatwellguide.org) or Eat the Seasons (www.eattheseasons.com). You probably already have the seasons of certain foods ingrained into your subconscious, such as strawberries in early summer. It's a soulful and satisfying exercise to get reacquainted with the rhythms of the Earth and the sources of our food.