(Recap) Sustainable Saturday: Seasonal Eating

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Thanks for joining Foodem for another Sustainable Saturday!

I am the first to admit that I’m not great at eating seasonally. It’s a pity because each season brings a variety of edibles that shouldn’t be ignored.

A few weeks ago I wanted to make pork chops with peach chutney, so I went to my grocery store in search of the perfect peaches. Upon arriving I realized that peaches were not in season, and I would have to modify my recipe. I decided to use apricots instead, as the flavors and textures are similar. Had I waited till Memorial Day, peaches would have been in full stock, but I was a tad too early and peaches were nowhere to be seen. I was semi-disappointed because the absence of peaches caught me off guard; I expected to find peaches regardless of the season. After all, isn’t that what we’re accustomed to?

In this day and age we are usually able to have and find whatever foods we want, at any time. Businesses and consumers have become increasingly globalized and it is more and more common for our foods to come from different countries. For example, at McDonalds all the ingredients for your Big Mac could come from at least seven different countries. When I go to the grocery store I am given the option to by bananas from Costa Rica and strawberries from Mexico. Because we import foods from around the world, we are able to get tropical fruits even in the middle of winter.

There are extensive benefits of a globalized world; producers and consumers can benefit from eating seasonally among other things. When products are in season they are much cheaper because there is a plethora. Producers are attempting to sell their huge supply of crop, so they set the prices lower. Thus you easily satisfy both your wallet and your palette.

On the other hand, while fresh fruits and vegetables have great health benefits, crops that are exported are typically harvested prematurely and are stored in huge warehouses. The end result is that they lose their nutritional value. They also don’t taste nearly as good as fresh crops because of the added preservatives and time in the warehouse. Eating an apple that was recently harvested is obviously much more flavorful and satisfying than an apple that has been drenched in preservatives, shipped and stored in a storage unit.

Just because it is fall or winter doesn’t mean you have to give up eating fresh produce in general. Look online to see what is harvested seasonally in your area. Visit your local farmer's market; they are sure to have a large variety of products that are in season.

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