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It’s easy to take for granted the perennial supply of fresh produce we find on supermarket shelves these days. We are able to enjoy a wide range of fruits and vegetables that aren’t in-season, or even native to the country we live, year-round. However, most of this produce has either been imported from the other side of the world or grown under simulated conditions that require the use of chemicals, gasses, and heat treatments to artificially manipulate the way it matures or ripens.
The UK relies heavily on imports with around 46% of our vegetables and 84% of our fruit being flown in from abroad. As this contributes to our environmental impact, a shift towards eating more seasonally is one way we can reduce our ‘foodprint’ and improve the sustainability of our diets.
The benefits don’t stop there either; by choosing in-season produce, we’re supporting the local economy, and saving ourselves money at the same time, as seasonal fruits and vegetables are often inexpensive. Then there’s taste – naturally ripened produce is full of flavour and, unsurprisingly, fresher tasting than its imported equivalent. In-season produce also boasts an enhanced nutritional profile, as it is harvested at its peak, helping it retain its full vitamin and mineral complement.
So, as we head into the warmer summer months, it’s time to start thinking about the wonderful array of seasonal produce available to us. In-season vegetables include broad beans, broccoli, celery, courgettes, cucumbers, fennel, radishes, runner beans, sweetcorn and tomatoes. While fruits include blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, plums, raspberries, redcurrants, and everyone’s summer favourite – strawberries.
On Sunday, I shared a recipe for one of my favourite ways to enjoy broad beans – a tasty pesto. Click here to check it out.
This article first appeared in International Therapist magazine. It has been reprinted with permission.
- Horticulture Statistics 2019, DEFRA, July 2020
- Wunderlich SM, Feldman C, Kane S, Hazhin T. Nutritional quality of organic, conventional, and seasonally grown broccoli using vitamin C as a marker. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2008 Feb;59(1):34-45. doi: 10.1080/09637480701453637. PMID: 17852499.
- A guide to British fruit and vegetables, Countryside Online