With the start of each new season, we’re reminded of the varied fresh fruits and vegetables readily available to us.
People have been following the cycle of eating with the season for generations.
In Ayurvedic practise (an ancient Indian system of natural medicine) there is a special term for eating seasonally, ‘ritucharya’ with a set of lifestyle and diet seasonal practices that aid and empower the body and mind during seasonal changes, a way of life that can still be applied today.
Buffy Ellen of Be Good Organics is an expert in creating healthy, delicious meals honouring in-season ingredients.
Having navigated her own illness and working to restore balance with a plant-based wholefoods diet, Buffy has gone on to become an expert in the plant-based category worldwide and is one of Australasia’s leading plant-based nutritionists and naturopaths.
Buffy shares five reasons why we should eat in season and how to incorporate local spring veg:
In season is more affordable
Ever noticed how tomatoes are $4 a kilo in summer, then suddenly $14 in winter?
When farmers are able to grow more of a product (through natural season supply without the need for hothouse support), they’re able to sell it at a lower price.
Look for in-season specials or refer to a seasonal growing calendar to eat more seasonally and keep your shopping bill as low as possible all year round.
In season is better for your body
Fruits and vegetables that are ripened on the plant, in the season and location where they naturally grow, have been shown to have higher levels of nutrients than those which are grown in a hothouse or picked unripe and held in cool houses.
Generally, they’re also sprayed with fewer pesticides as they haven’t needed that additional boost to grow out of season or to hold their shelf life during extended transportation.
Food that contains fewer pesticides has been shown to provide significantly greater levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus than non-organic sprayed varieties of the same foods (Study by Walter J Crinnion, 2010).
Traditional naturopathic and ayurvedic health literature also teaches that eating seasonally works better for our bodies – that’s why we crave roast kumara, potatoes, and soups in winter; while in summer we feel like fresh salads, berries, and tomatoes.
In season is more varied
Eating with the seasons means you don’t always put the same old tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumber in your shopping cart. You’re more likely to experience new produce you haven’t tried before – ripe persimmons, tangy tamarillos, sour grapefruit, creamy jerusalem artichokes, and wintry brussel sprouts.
In season keeps it local
Eating with the seasons means you’re less likely to be buying berries from Chile, mango from Peru, and apples from the US. Which means fewer carbon miles, reducing our impact on our environment in terms of emissions and global warming.
It also means you’re more likely to be supporting local kiwi growers!
In season is fresher
In season produce hasn’t had to sit in cool houses for months after harvest, before heading to your local store.
So it’s always fresher, which again means higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
So what is locally in season?
Spring is the season of new beginnings with fresh buds and luscious greens.
It’s also at this time of year that we look towards ‘spring cleaning’ our routine and what better time to up your fruit and veg!
At this time of year, think about upping your greens with spinach, kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts, add in earthy mushrooms for a vitamin D boost, cauli for a source of fibre, vitamins B and C and a sweet antioxidant hit in the form of delicious fresh kiwifruit, oranges and strawberries and lemons.