VegBox Recipes

Why Buy Seasonal Food

The joys and frustrations of going seasonal

One of the things we enjoy most about our veg box delivery is the seasonal variety.

Yes, it can get frustrating, knowing we could pop to the supermarket and buy whatever we want, even out of season. But it's also strangely exciting, looking forward to the arrival of butternut squash in the autumn, or strawberries in June.
It took us a while to get used to this different way of cooking, but now it's changed our attitude towards food. We take time to enjoy the seasons, rather than taking them for granted.

But it really did take us a while.

I hadn't realised how entrenched we were in the convenience of supermarket shopping. I hadn't noticed that I expected to be able to buy French beans all year round, even if that meant air freighting them from Africa.

I was reading Not On The Label by Felicity Lawrence that was the crunch point for us. After this, we realised we couldn't continue our buying habits and took the plunge to go local and seasonal.


The hard bit

The first 3 months were tough. We were weaning our son and the "baby" recipe books all called for ingredients that weren't due to be in season until later in the year.

Our veg box was great, but little 'un didn't take to parsnip or courgette, both of which we had in abundance.

So we muddled through until the squashes and autumn fruits came into season.

Then there were the food cravings...

Of course, you always want to eat the one thing you don't have in the cupboard...

But, little by little, we got used to the idea of going back to the seasons and eating what was locally available.


Why buy seasonal food?

To quote our veg box supplier:

"Our seasons are the essence of what makes living in this country such a joy.

To taste the first asparagus or courgettes is an annual delight."
Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than out-of-season food that has been force grown or flown from abroad.

Why?

  • Seasonal food means seeds germinate in the soil at the right time, meaning plants are naturally stronger and more resistant to disease. This gives better quality fruit and vegetables.


  • Out-of-season food may be "force grown" in artificial conditions, requiring more fertilisers. This can lead to watery, flavourless produce.
    (Compare the taste of a supermarket tomato in December with a home-grown one from August...)


  • Food left to ripen on the plant will contain more nutrients and have a better flavour than food that is harvested early and ripened artificially.


  • It's a fact that most fruit and vegetables start to lose their flavour and nutritional value as soon as they're picked.

    Buying local, seasonal food guarantees you shorter times from field-to-kitchen. Out-of-season food may have been picked six or more weeks before you buy it.

    So your efforts to eat "5-a-day" are worth much more if your 5 are locally produced seasonal fruit and vegetables, rather than artificially ripened produce that have travelled for weeks to reach you.


But that's probably enough about seasonal food.

Our next decision was which box scheme to choose, long term.

This raised the whole tricky topic of local vs. national providers...
 
 
Why buy local food?
Next: Should you buy local food?
 

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