Seasonal local food
The advent of the modern age has many perks, one of these being we can enjoy a huge variety of fruit and vegetables throughout year, regardless of the natural growing season. But it can take up to 2 weeks for some produce to reach our shelves. Exotic fruits like pineapples are picked hard and un-ripened off the tree, then artificially ripened and irradiated, making the nutrient content very different to that of a ripe fruit which has been freshly picked.
Remember that our bodies are still essentially cavemen and cavewomen in their requirements and technology is changing the food that we eat much faster than we can evolve. Nature has designed the human body to consume foods which are naturally available in season; for example, the season of spring sees the emergence of the body from the winter’s hibernation, we ‘awake’ ready to be nourished by spring greens which are rich in nutrients and cleansing to the liver. Our bodily fluids, like stomach acid and bile, are strengthened by foods grown at this time.
Fruits are high in fructose and are designed to be eaten during summer and early autumn, preparing a store of fuel for the body over the winter period. Our digestive system naturally adapts to this pattern to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients. In the depths of winter, our bodies may not respond well to large amounts of summer fruits as it is not the natural season. Eating too much fruit at this time of year may contribute to a pattern of compromised digestion.
Buying local foods in season means that fruit and vegetables are harvested at their peak and eaten when their nutritional value is at its prime. Imported produce will almost certainly be treated with waxes and preservatives in order to survive transportation and increase shelf life, whereas local produce eaten ‘fresh from the farm’ retains more nutrients like vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene, which deplete rapidly after harvest. There are also environmental advantages to buying local – no air miles, less lorries on the road, and a reduced need for cold storage not to mention the processing and unnecessary packaging that is so often used to keep food fresh during transit.
While we recognise that some out of season foods can have wonderful benefits during the winter months, those who want to live truly holistically may choose to avoid imported and ‘out of season’ produce. Local vegetable box delivery schemes are a great way to ensure you always have fresh, local, seasonal produce to hand.