Happy solstice! The summer brings a bounty of fresh produce: stone fruit and berries, garden salads with ripe tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, watermelon, and more. In this short film from Nourish, farmer Nigel Walker, chef Bryant Terry, and others share why eating seasonally is good for your body and the planet—and it tastes better, too. What seasonal foods do you enjoy?
Reasons to Eat Seasonally
Eating with the seasons connects us to a particular time and place. In America, we might think of corn on the cob in the summer, sweet potatoes in the fall, cranberry sauce during the winter holidays, or fresh strawberries in the spring.
Fresh, seasonal, whole foods support and nourish our bodies. In the winter, heavier foods like squash and root vegetables warm and ground us, while lighter foods like salads and fruits are cooling in the warmer months. Foods harvested at their seasonal peak reach nutritional maturity, which means they are richer in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants than produce that is grown off-season or picked early and left to ripen in transit.
Eating seasonally often goes hand in hand with eating locally. Foods that are grown in their appropriate climate and allowed to naturally ripen require fewer fossil fuels and resources to grow and transport, which is better for the environment.
There are many ways to tune into the seasons:
- Shop at farmers markets. Get to know what foods grow in your region and when by buying direct from the source. Talk to the vendors at the market, taste new foods, and discover what’s fresh each week.
- Create a food wheel. Get to know what’s in season by making a seasonal food wheel. This is a fun project to do with kids. (Read more about this activity in the Nourish Curriculum Guide.)
- Join a CSA. Subscribe to a local community-support agriculture (CSA) program to receive a weekly box of seasonal produce. Farmers often included seasonal updates and recipes for the items in your box.
- Seek seasonal specialties. Never had a fava bean or a persimmon before? Create more variety in your diet by picking up seasonal specialties and finding creative ways to prepare them.
- Grow with the seasons. Find out what foods grow well in your area and when to plant them. Talk to your neighbors or visit a local urban farm, a community garden, or your local gardening store.
- Preserve the harvest. Many of us live in areas where it’s hard to find fresh produce year round. For centuries, people have extended the growing season’s bounty by freezing, preserving, or culturing foods. Read up or take a class in food preservation to learn about these traditional foodways.
Bryant Terry and Anna Lappé discuss the joys of eating with the seasons in Nourish Perspectives.
Discover farmers markets and seasonal foods in your area with Local Harvest. Locavore is a free phone app that let’s you know what’s season and where to find it. Epicurious provides a helpful interactive seasonal ingredient map, with produce descriptions and recipes.