SEASONAL EATING | SPRING
What does it mean to eat seasonally?
Eating in season means that you eat foods that are grown in the current seasonal climate. To do this 100% is nearly impossible but making a small effort to eat more seasonal foods can be more sustainable and nutritious. Why? you may ask… When you eat foods that can be grown locally in the current climate they do not need to travel as far cutting down on transportation emissions. For example, the fresh berries you are eating in the dead of winter most likely must travel quite a long way if you find yourself in the Northeast like myself. Eating seasonally can also be more nutrition because they do not need to be stored as long and can be more nutrient dense as they are grown in their desired climate. However, if you do crave berries in the winter try to opt for frozen that were harvested at their peak ripeness.
What is in season right now?
While this truly depends on your location and climate some produce that loves the spring weather in the North East include arugula, chives, collard greens, mushrooms, nettles, rosemary, rutabaga, sprouts, tarragon, thyme, watercress, parsnips, asparagus, endive, chicories, fiddle heads, green onions, radicchio, and radishes. I like to use this guide to look for my specific state. You can also find out what your local farms are growing currently or look at the produce in your grocery store and read the sticker about where it is grown. Just try to pick foods grown closest to you, organic if possible. One fun thing you can do this spring is to start growing your own herbs or sprouts. My mom has been sprouting broccoli and lentil seeds for the past few months and they are so easy and delicious to have on hand. While herbs are so incredibly nutrient dense they are also wonderful to have on hand. Instead of buying those little plastic boxes of basil or mint, you can get the seedling and plant it in a pot. Then you can just pick some leaves off of your window sill and add right to your dishes. You can't get more local than growing food inside your own house!
Use this video to learn how you can start your own indoor herb garden.
What are some non-seasonal staples?
Some of my favorite foods that I have year-round mainly include dried goods, such as; whole grains, dried legumes, nuts, & seeds. These are easy to get anywhere, are shelf stable, nutrient dense, and cost effective. Frozen fruits and veggies are also a great, cost-friendly option to get non-seasonal produce into your diet. They are picked a peak freshness and are well preserved. The only reason why I don't always go straight to frozen options is the excess plastic. Try freezing your own surplus from summer growing seasons instead!
Support Local Farms & Markets.
This is another great way to lower your carbon foot print. Purchasing from local farms is a great way to get seasonal produce as they only have what they can grow during each season. For example I just went to the first opening of my local farmers market and they had lots of greens, some beans, and radishes. The juicy tomatoes and sweet corn simply aren't ready yet so I will wait till a bit later in the summer for those. The more local you shop will also cut down on the traveling your food needs to do to get to you. In addition to attending weekly farmer's markets you can go a step further and become a part of a CSA program. This means Community Supported Agriculture. This is when you a pay a farm up front and then throughout the spring and summer as produce becomes available you can get a weekly share with whatever is produced that week. Fun fact, I actually worked at a CSA farm for three summers! It is a wonderful way to try new produce in a sustainable way.