Monday, July 16, 2018

Eating in Season

In an age where food can be shipped quickly or force grown, should you still eat in season?

There have been studies that show that foods grown in season have twice the nutrients of foods that have not.  Plants thrive in an environment that can support it's growth in season.

Buying food locally is an essential part of eating in season.  Once picked fruit and vegetables lose about 30% of it's nutrients within three days of being picked.  That is something to think about when you are in the grocery store with produce brought in by the truck load.  How far did it have to travel to get there?  Growing conditions where I live have been favorable, so much so that our local farmers market has expanded to two days a week.

Eating in season also helps support balanced health and a variety in diet.  Included in the past supplement articles, food that helps supply vitamins aren't in season all year.  Eating foods that are in season year round would help considerably with those requirements. 

Growing your own food is a great way to have food in season and learn about your environment.  I love the fact I can take a few steps outside to my garden and be able to use what I grow.  I know my tomatoes are flourishing now but in a short time I will have to combat stink bugs.  I was able to plant early so my loss will be minimal.  I can also plant a later batch.  Squash will be going in next. While some things are available in one part of the country they may not be available in another.  Here is an example of two states:

Mississippi                                                          Minnesota

Apples                                                                   Asparagus
Arugula                                                                 Basil
Asian Pears                                                           Beets
Basil                                                                      Black-Eyed Peas
Beets                                                                     Blackberries
Black-Eyed Peas                                                   Blueberries
Blackberries                                                          Brambles
Blueberries                                                            Broccoli
Brambles                                                               Cabbage
Cantaloupe                                                            Carrots
Carrots                                                                  Cauliflower
Cherries                                                                Celery
Chili Peppers                                                        Chard
Chives                                                                   Cherries
Cucumbers                                                            Chicories
Edamame                                                              Chili Peppers
Eggplant                                                                Cilantro   
Figs                                                                       Collard Greens
Gooseberries                                                         Corn
Grapes                                                                   Cucumbers
Ground Cherries                                                   Currants
Lamb's Quarters                                                    Endive
Lavender                                                               Fennel
Leeks                                                                    Garlic
Lettuce                                                                  Gooseberries
Lima Beans                                                           Green Beans
Melons                                                                  Green Onions    
Mint                                                                      Ground Cherries
Mushrooms                                                           Kohlrabi
Nectarines                                                             Lamb's Quarters
Okra                                                                      Lavender
Onions                                                                  Lettuce
Oregano                                                                Mint
Parsley                                                                 Mushrooms
Peaches                                                                Okra
Peanuts                                                                Oregano
Peppers                                                                Pea Shoots
Plums                                                                   Peas
Purslane                                                               Peppers
Raspberries                                                          Plumbs
Rosemary                                                             Potatoes
Sage                                                                     Radicchio
Shallots                                                                Raspberries
Shell Beans                                                          Rosemary
Snap Beans                                                          Sage
Snow Peas                                                           Sprouts
Spinach                                                               Strawberries
Summer Squash                                                  Summer Squash
Sun Chokes                                                         Tarragon
Tomatoes                                                             Thyme
Watercress                                                           Tomatillos
Watermelon                                                         Tomatoes
Zucchini                                                               Zucchini

There are a few differences in what is available in July but I wouldn't expect Minnesota to have as long as a growing season as Mississippi.  Keeping a garden notebook is very helpful.  I planted beans and while they started out with a bang, they quickly fizzled.  My notes for next year are to try to plant earlier but as I talked to other gardeners in my area, they also had the same problem.  Sometimes nature dictates and this was not a good year for beans.

If you are interested strictly as a consumer, there is a decent app through Seasonal Food Guide.

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