02 December 2009

Eating Seasonally

Though it may be nice to have tomatoes, peaches, and pineapple available in the middle of December, it isn't exactly the greatest thing to be doing for our environment or the cost of food. As Americans, we want what we want and we want it right now. This mentality has certainly helped earn us a place as the most powerful nation in the world, but it has also caused a few problems.

What is eating seasonally? It is choosing to purchase fruits and vegetables based on their natural growing and harvesting times (read: when they are the freshest). Why is this important? There's an awful lot of labor, money, and oil required to ship a bunch of asparagus from Peru to your dinner table in February. That money is largely going to overseas farmers and is more often than not much more than you would pay in May to a farmer in your own state. The oil to get that vegetable here on that plane or that ship was also quite expensive to say the least and doesn't do much good for the quality of the air we breathe. Again, this reduces the demand for food (and the certain waste created by shipping food 5,000 miles across the world). Reducing the demand for food ultimately lowers the cost. Eating seasonally also pretty much directly coincides with eating locally. This keeps your dollars in your city and state and also allows you to come face to face with the hand that feeds you at your local farmer's market. I can also guarantee that it will taste better.

So how can you do it? Well... Instead of buying peaches, cantaloupe, and eggplant during the winter months, try apples, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. Take a look at the lists below that I've compiled for you to help next time you are at the market. As you can see, there is some overlap, and plenty of other options that I didn't list here.

Eating seasonally isn't always convenient. I'll admit that it is certainly nice to be able to enjoy a strawberry today as if it were late May and I certainly can't live without bell peppers year round. However, I would just encourage you to make an effort to make it a priority. Seasons eatings!

Apples, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Cabbage, Collards, Kale, Pumpkin, Radishes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Onion

Spring: Asparagus, Celery, Kale, Spinach, Strawberries, Bell Peppers

Artichokes, Apples, Blueberries, Blackberries, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Eggplant, Kale, Okra, Melons, Onions, Peppers, Peaches, Squash, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Strawberries, Spinach, Raspberries, Lettuce

Apples, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Lettuce, Melons, Onions, Peppers, Pears, Pumpkin, Zucchini


On another note, I told you a few weeks ago that I would keep you updated on the feedback I received from my letter. In addition to a very personal response from Rep. Virginia Foxx, I recently received a phone call from a woman in D.C. representing Senator Richard Burr. She left a very nice voicemail message for me with a lot of political nonsense, but at least it's getting read, right?

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