Generally, this modern world we live in has us all pretty spoiled, and we’re used to getting what we want when we want it. And this is especially true when it comes to the fruits and vegetables at our supermarkets. Gone are the days when the produce shelves were limited to just a handful of items — Now, we can have stone fruits in winter, mandarins and kiwis in the summer, and avocados the whole year long.
This all seems so convenient but just because we can eat what we want year-round, should we? How are these foods grown and where are they coming from? Do they really taste as good out of season? And what kind of repercussions does it all have on our health and environment?
When picked in season, fruits and vegetables boast a range of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals natural to the amounts of warmth, sun, and water they receive when growing. This is one of the main reasons why they tend to have brighter colours and richer flavours. Seasonal foods are a way of reconnecting with the organic cycle that nature intended for us, and studies have shown that eating the right kinds of foods during the right times of year (and avoiding them otherwise) can make a surprising impact on our health.
Typically, the out-of-season fruit and veg we see at the local supermarkets are being glossed and sprayed with preservatives and waxes to keep looking fresh. If artificial or chemical preservatives are consumed, they can lead to health problems. And, a lot of these foods are also coming to us from overseas, contributing to the already hefty carbon footprint of our grocery supply chain.
We recommend shopping at your farmers market, organic grocer or local supplier whenever possible. Choosing to eat locally reduces the number of food miles your food has to make before it reaches your table, which is better for the environment. You’ll also know that you are eating in-season, as well as spending your dollars in support of our local growers. Double tick!
So, with all that in mind, what should you be keeping an eye out as we transition into spring? Here’s what to pack in your shopping basket:
- Navel Oranges