You’ve probably heard it over and over again: Want to make your eating habits more eco-friendly? Buy organic! Eat less meat! However, one of the most important parts of eating green is learning to buy the specific fruits and vegetables that are ripe and in-season at the moment. This may seem obvious, but in the midst of our supermarket culture, where most fruits and veggies are shipped from other countries or regions, many of us have lost the knowledge of which foods grow naturally in our area during the winter, spring, summer and fall.
Upon entering your local supermarket, you may see the same produce choices you always see, regardless of the time of year: a mountain of tomatoes, shelves of bell peppers, boxes of pears, and containers of raspberries. This may seem normal, but in reality, most of these foods are not from anywhere near where we live. You can bet that that pile of peaches or box of avocados sitting in the supermarket during the winter was shipped from sunny Mexico or Central America. A large amount of U.S. supermarket produce is shipped from countries thousands of miles away a regular basis. Not only does this shipping create high quantities of waste and pollution, it also diminishes the nutritional value and freshness of the foods. Amidst the bounty of limitless produce choices available to us year-round, we have lost the knowledge of what our local, seasonal foods really are.
So, in celebration of the warmer spring season, why not get out there and learn what’s really growing in farms near you?
Get a handy Local Foods Wheel. Available for the San Francisco and New York Metro Areas, the Local Food Wheel is a 12-inch wheel printed on card stock, with the top wheel showing foods that are available year-round, and the bottom wheel exposing what foods are available only seasonally.
If you don’t have time to visit the Farmer’s Market to buy produce every week, you can sign up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). CSA is an easy, alternative way to get local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. When you purchase a subscription, they deliver a box of seasonal vegetables and fruits from local farms right to your door!
For seasonal spring recipes and helpful information for cooking seasonally all year long, click here.