In Ireland, we are lucky to have a mild, wet climate which provides us with a long growing season for vegetables, with cabbage, beetroot, cauliflower and mushroom available all year round. With this, a conversation has sparked recently encouraging consumers to buy local produce and shop seasonal, but what does all this mean? Most fruit and vegetables are only naturally ready at particular times of the year and have a very clear defined window where they are ready for consumption – for example, strawberry season is generally May to September and asparagus is April to July! When you buy fruit or vegetable outside of the recommended seasons, they are generally GMO’s or new breeds of the plant, which involves freezing the produce or harvesting before maturation is complete. In order to eat seasonal, check out stopfoodwaste.ie food calendar online here. What are the benefits to shopping our fruit and vegetable locally and seasonally? Check out our five reasons to encourage you to shop using a seasonal guideline!
1. It will reduce your environmental impact!
When you shop seasonal, it means that there is less energy used for the transportation & storage because they are harvested locally! It’s obvious that if you purchase your food from across the world, it will have a bigger impact on the environment because of travel, packaging and refrigerating over the long distances it travels. If you opt to shop locally, it will overall reduce the demand and reduce the environmental impact!
2. You can eat better quality food for less money!
It’s proven that there’s a huge health difference from the last few decades with studies showing that you would need to eat eight oranges to get the same nutritional value as one 50 years ago! The current low quality of our food is caused by many reasons, such as a new breed of plant now available that may be able to grow outside the normal seasonal window! These windows appear naturally because it is the best time for the plant to get the nutrients it needs so while new breeds survive out of their natural window, they do not thrive and the resulting product is lower quality and lacking nutrition. With this, the local produce is more than likely ripened on the farm before being harvested and delivered. It means your food will be in season so containing the maximum nutrition’s, it will be fresher and tastier! It may cost more to shop local, but when you buy in season at its peak supply it will be at its cheapest.
3. You can support your local community!
When you decide to shop from local farmers markets or from shops you know source all produce from people in the area, the money you spend stays within Ireland and helps to support the local farmers and the communities in which you live in!
4. It’s easier to know what you’re getting!
With our current globalised food system, we are now able to explore a wide variety of produce from all over the world! The downside to this is, the larger the distance from where you eat your food to where it’s sourced makes it extremely difficult to identify how it was produced – so the easiest way to know what you’re eating is to know where it came from, simple!
5. You can help reduce food waste!
When food spends the majority of its time in transit, more often times than not it ends up becoming spoilt by the time it reaches a supermarket for sale and contributes to food waste – more than half of all food waste occurs on the supply chain!
When you’re used to shopping from global supermarkets it can be hard to consider changing to locally sourced produce and can be often hard to identify what is in season! There’s plenty of online resources to help you to choose the best products for seasons such as http://www.bestinseason.ie/ or www.stopfoodwaste.ie to check for tips & tricks to reducing your food waste and shopping local. Have you incorporated a seasonal dish to your menu? Some restaurants have the likes of a seasonal salad available that changes depending on the time of year. We would love to hear from you on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Alternatively, shop our extensive range of essential cookware, crockery, barware and more online now at www.hughjordan.com