F or those of you who have been following the blog weekly, you know how I feel about supermarkets. However, I am completely aware (and actually quite thankful) that most people don’t possess the fanaticism I have for sourcing food. So for those who forgo the local farmers’ market (where purchasing seasonal foods is practically the only option) for the grocery store, I wanted to offer a little guide to help steer you towards smart, seasonal choices as you peruse the atemporal aisles. I say “smart” for several reasons:
· CHOOSING SEASONAL PRODUCTS IS BETTER FOR YOU – A Simple Example – In the summer, when heat prevails, the body needs water-rich summer foods like cucumber, watermelon, and tomato. In the winter, when the chilly, dry air freezes our little bums blue, we should take to hearty, warming fare like root vegetables, grains, and meat (if you partake). Eating strawberry smoothies for breakfast when it is 27 degrees outside is absolutely deleterious for anyone – Does this make sense?
· IT REDUCES YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT – Resisting apples from New Zealand during springtime not only reduces your personal impact on the environment, it also sends a clear message to buyers; if everyone abstained, grocers would lose incentive to purchase produce from 10,000 miles away.
· ITS FUN – You may think eating blueberries year-round is what you desire, but I can almost guarantee that the expectation of, and subsequent indulgence in, those first summer, sapphire jewels is loads more interesting.
· SEASONAL FOOD TASTES BETTER! – Over thousands of years, food has adapted to the climate in which it grows naturally. For instance, kale – which can be bitter and harsh – doesn’t develop sugars until after the first frost; if someone were to grab a bunch in the dead of summer, they are bound to hate it. Moreover, it is a common saying in the food industry, “What grows together goes together!” When you are menu planning – for your family, a fancy-pants dinner party, or simply yourself – you don’t have to play a complicated guessing game; just buy foods that are in season and all the components will play in a delicious harmony.
Like produce, herbs, flowers, and meat, fish has seasons as well. However, since species availability varies so much by region, I didn’t include it in the list. A fabulous website is available for those interested in purchasing sustainable fish, and it allows you to search by region: Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
I hope you find this post useful. I will do my best to offer timely recipes for many of the foods listed, as well as nutritional information and tips for purchasing and storing.
Check back in March, when I will post a "Spring Market Report" for the new season! Happy Shopping, Cooking, & Eating!