Increased worldwide food distribution, and improvements in food storage means we have grown used to seeing ‘fresh’ food from across the globe in our supermarkets all year long. We can easily forget about how fruit and vegetables actually grow. We forget that each has a distinct sowing, growing and harvesting season and the importance of eating food in season.
What do we mean by eating food in season?
Eating foods in season means eating foods that are grown at the same time as you eat them. Put simply, eating food that is in season in your area at the moment. The growing season can be affected by an number of things, soil temperatures, rainfall, temperatures, sunlight hours. However, this calendar is a helpful guide to when food is in season in Ireland.
What are the benefits of eating food in season?
1. Better Flavour
Fruit and vegetables taste best if harvested when they are fully ripened and eaten shortly after harvesting. If you eat food produced in your locality you are eating it when it is freshly harvested.
2. Better Nutrition
Picking food when it is fully ripe ensures its nutritional value is fully developed. By eating in season, you consume a variety of foods when they are at their very best. It also helps you eat a more balanced diet.
3. Better Value for Money
When you buy food while it is in season, there is an abundance of that product, and that is reflected in the price. Supply and demand means that the prices of products increase when there is a scarcity and are better value when there is a seasonal abundance.
4. Better for the Environment
Buying food produced in your local area cuts down on transportation costs and the need for extended storage and refrigeration, so it helps cut down on your carbon footprint. Reduced transportation also means less spoiling of food which helps reduce food waste.
5. Better for your Community
Eating food produced in your local community helps to connect you to where your food comes from. It helps maintain family farms, businesses and local jobs so you are making a significant contribution to the welfare of your community. You also have the opportunity to meet the producers at Farmers Markets and Farm Shops.