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In the summertime when my cherry tomatoes are ripe, I always find myself saying "This is the BEST tomato I've ever had". When I get a delicious, in-season vegetable or fruit, I realize how tasteless and bland they are the rest of the year. Eating seasonally is something we never have to really think about, since our grocery stores are always stocked with whatever foods we desire. However, when you learn about the benefits and taste the delicious in-season produce, it's hard to shop for anything else!
Seasonal eating has its benefits: According to RD Lisa Hayim, "When you purchase produce at peak season, you get more natural nutrients, she says. “Because seasonal fruits and vegetables don’t undergo lengthy transit times to get from farm to your kitchen, these integral vitamins and minerals are more likely to be preserved by the time you’re ready to eat your produce". Since some out-of-season produce has to travel across the globe to get to you, a lot of them are picked before they're ripe and are usually genetically modified or covered in preservatives, like pesticides.
With local farms having an abundance of tomato in the summer or squash in the fall, more supply means cheaper prices for everyone! Therefore, when you take advantage of the seasonal produce you're actually getting it at a better price than you would if it were out-of-season. Plus, local and seasonal produce means shorter shipping distances. If you're looking for Pineapple in Maine in the middle of winter, those shipping prices will directly transfer to the price you're paying when you hit the checkout. If you're looking to eat well on a budget, seasonal produce is the way to go!
Did you know that on average, your produce travels 1500 miles to get to your local grocery store? The amount of food shipped between countries has grown fourfold over the last four decades. For example, in the UK food travels 50 percent farther than it did two decades ago. "We are spending far more energy to get food to the table than the energy we get from eating the food. A head of lettuce grown in the Salinas Valley of California and shipped nearly 3,000 miles to Washington, D.C., requires about 36 times as much fossil fuel energy in transport as it provides in food energy when it arrives," says Worldwatch Research Associate, Brian Halwei.
If you want to find local farms or farmer's markets and don't know where to look, check out the Local Harvest website. One thing to note: farmer's markets aren't always going to necessarily have in-season produce, although they usually do. Now we know why we should be eating seasonally, but how do what know what's in season, and when?
We found these handy charts online that you can keep on your phone or in your kitchen so you know what to eat that's in-season in North America:
Below is a list of in-season Winter recipes:
Cauliflower & Butternut Squash Thai Curry (Oh She Glows)
Beet & Cabbage Soup (Oh She Glows)
Chickpea Miso Gravy Bowl w/ Sweet & Tangy Portobello Mushrooms (Oh She Glows)
Crispy Brussel Sprouts (& 7 ways to flavor them) (Oh She Glows)
Cauliflower Fettuccini Alfredo (Oh She Glows)
Savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes (Cookie + Kate)
Cashew Crusted Cauliflower "Steak" (Minimalist Baker)
Below is a list of in-season Spring recipes:
Mango Salsa (The Simple Veganista)
Warm Spring Salad with Strawberries & Asparagus (Oh She Glows)
Creamy Zucchini Pesto Pasta (The Simple Veganista)
Potato Leek Soup (The Simple Veganista)
Broccolini Almond Pizza (Cookie + Kate)
Roasted Broccoli Rabe and Pesto Flatbread (Cookie + Kate)
Glowing Green Pasta Primavera (Oh She Glows)
Below is a list of in-season Summer recipes:
The Best Damn Vegan Nachos (Minimalist Baker)
Grilled Corn with Sriacha Aioli (Minimalist Baker)
Chickpea Salad Sandwich (Oh She Glows)
Collard Green Burritos (Minimalist Baker)
Green Goddess Veggie Kabobs (Oh She Glows)
Grilled Peach, Corn, Zucchini and Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinagarette (The Simple Veganista)
Summer Rolls With Spicy Peanut-Lime Sauce (Oh She Glows)
Below is a list of in-season Fall recipes:
Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash (Cookie + Kate)
Roasted Sweet Potato & Fig Salad (A Cozy Kitchen)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Crispy Baked Tofu w/ Honey Sesame Glaze (Cookie + Kate)
Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup (Cookie + Kate)
Fluffy Cranberry Orange Muffins (Cookie + Kate)
Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bowls (Cookie + Kate)
Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce (Oh She Glows)
Do YOU eat what's in-season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and feel free to share your favorite recipes!