Seasonal eating is not a new concept–in fact, it’s the oldest nutritional plan going back to hunter-gatherers. There’s a reason it has stood the test of time: choosing in-season fruits and veggies is the most nutritious, economic, eco-conscious, tasty way to buy produce. It just makes sense! Let Copiana take you through the basics of seasonal eating.
In-season produce tastes better
No joke. Buying seasonal produce minimizes the time between when food is harvested and when you eat it. Fresh fruits and veggies are better tasting fruits and veggies. Selecting what’s growing right now in your area means that your produce doesn’t have to travel long distances to get to you, so it can be harvested at peak ripeness for that straight-off-the-plant taste.
Produce grown out of season artificially that’s then frozen and transported long distances just can’t compare. Ever bought a supermarket tomato in February? It’s a poor attempt at the real thing.
It’s better for you, too
Remember that “harvested at peak ripeness” bit? Fruits and vegetables harvested at their prime have the chance to absorb the most nutrients from the soil and sunshine. The sooner you consume that produce after it’s picked, the more nutrients are passed to you.
Nature also has a funny way of knowing exactly what we need at what time of year. Citrus fruits are in their prime right when cold and flu season, providing immune-boosting vitamin C to get us through winter. In summer, watermelons and stone fruits like peaches, plums, and cherries provide natural sun protection against the harsher rays.
Variety is fun and nutritious
Choosing what’s seasonally available introduces you to new fruits and vegetables that you might not normally reach for. Focusing on produce makes it easier to get your recommended serving of vegetables and fruits, and helps you consume essential vitamins and minerals in easily absorbable forms. Say goodbye to your multivitamin–everything you need is at your harvest market.
Why not reach for that unfamiliar vegetable? You might discover a new favorite dish
It saves you money
As much as we love strawberries year-round, buying them when they don’t normally grow can be expensive (and disappointing). Produce is much more affordable during its peak growing season: it grows easily and abundantly, transportation costs are drastically reduced, and there’s little to no need for storage. Seasonal food is cheaper for the growers, distributors, and grocery stores, and they pass those savings onto the buyer, too.
And if you really want berries in February, plan ahead and freeze some of what you buy during the summer. You’ll get better-tasting berries at a better price, and that’s a win-win.
It saves the earth
Transporting popular and in-demand foods all over the world, in season or not, is extremely wasteful and creates unnecessary pollution. Soil is healthiest and most productive when crops are rotated to allow nutrients to be replenished, and buying what’s in season supports local farmers who operate sustainably.
So what’s in season now?
You’ll be surprised at the variety of produce available locally in each season. We’ve compiled a sample list below, but for a more complete offering, check with your local farmers market or produce guide. Some foods have much longer growing seasons than others, and seasonality depends on a variety of factors including climate, soil, humidity, rainfall, and sunshine.
Additionally, if your business or residence partners with a vertical farming group like Copiana, you can grow your own selection of nutritionally-rich produce year-round, fresh and local!
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Green onions
- Collard greens
- Water squash
No matter the time of year, there’s plenty of seasonal bounty to be had. Take advantage of nature’s bounty and timing and you’ll be rewarded with variety, nutrition, savings, and flavor. For recipe ideas and inspiration, check out our blog page. We post seasonal recipes featuring the best our gardens have to offer!