By Jenny Letts
The Fruity Farmer
Many years ago eating in-season produce was the norm. Families would often grow their own veg, mostly to cut down on cost, and ate what they grew throughout the year. But widespread availability of fruit & vegetables from across the world almost the entire year long has seen a change in eating patterns. However now, there’s a gradual swing back towards customers wanting to try eating in-season produce.
There’s all sorts of reasons why it makes sense to eat seasonally.
One – It’s cheaper to eat in season
Firstly, it’s almost always cheaper to eat what is currently in season, as there’s often a good steady supply of it. If you visit your local greengrocer or farm shop you’ll always find fruit & veg that’s in season. They may often be grown fairly locally too. In this area, Molly’s Pantry in Bletchley is a wonderful example of that. Give them a visit and talk to Molly about all the produce they source. It mostly comes from within two or three counties which is in season at the time of your visit.
Of course, locally grown, fresh produce will pretty much always taste better than the same product frozen. It’s also usually is packed with more nutrients when you are eating in-season.
Two – Adding variety to your diet
Eating seasonally adds variety to your diet. When you haven’t eaten a British strawberry since last summer, that first punnet in late April/May time is manna from heaven isn’t it? During colder winter months you’ll naturally enjoy the root vegetables such as parsnips and swedes in warming roasts and casseroles. In the spring you’ll look forward to asparagus (oh they joy of that first bite of English asparagus!). The summer the glut of beautifully fresh berries is a real treat. In autumn you’ll enjoy nature’s bounty of blackberries, sloes, crab apples for example.
Three – Supporting local business and farms
By eating seasonally you’ll also support local businesses and farmers. You’ll know what you are eating and where it’s from. You’ll become less reliant on unseasonal food which requires inordinate amounts of energy to grow and transport across the world. Food produced locally needs much less time to be transported than food sourced from the other side of the globe.
Fruity Farmer stays seasonal
Here at The Fruity Farmer we make all our drinks seasonally. As they are fruit gins & liqueurs, they all keep well. They have a shelf life of a year (but would happily keep longer than that too). We start making rhubarb gin with our early garden-grown rhubarb in April, through to July. We pick strawberries from our strawberry bed in June for strawberry gin. Foraging sloes from our farm hedgerows takes place in November for our sloe gin. Seasonality dictates what we make throughout the year.
Here’s a guide to fruit & veg you can enjoy in the UK each month of year. It’s not exhaustive and there are many more. Just ask your local greengrocer or farm shop for advice.
- Savoy Cabbage
- Spring Onions
- Water Cress
- Early Gooseberries
- Broad beans
- Fresh peas
- Salad leaves
- New Potatoes
- Currants – red/black/white
- Field mushrooms
Article written by Jenny Letts, The Fruity Farmer
Find The Fruity Farmer and others at local Farmer’s Markets