It’s easy to be drawn to seasonal produce during summer or early autumn. What’s not to love with farm-fresh strawberries and corn on the cob? But we may forget that seasonal produce is available all year long, even in the middle of winter. Let’s explore the benefits of eating seasonally and give you some of our favorite fall and winter recipes showcasing seasonal produce.
Here at Toby’s Family Foods, we’re big supporters of community supported agriculture, aka CSA. Supporting local farms is good for the community, good for the environment, and good for your health! Eating local does mean eating what’s in season, but we find that to be a good thing too.
It’s true that in this modern age, you can buy a huge variety of produce all year long at your grocery store. (And no, we don’t hold buying that carton of strawberries in December against you!) But we believe it’s worth your while to do a little investigating on the local, seasonal food that’s available to you.
As temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end to local fruits and vegetables. There are methods that farmers use to extend the natural growing season, as well as vegetables that store well, like cabbages and potatoes. And don’t forget about cold-weather crops! This combination means that across most of the country there are plenty of local winter fruits and vegetables available.
Beyond being good for your local economy and the environment, seasonal food just tastes better! A lot better! Seasonal produce from your local farm or CSA is fresher since it doesn’t require thousands of miles of transportation to get to your local store. Your palette can discern the difference. That’s because out-of-season produce is harvested early to allow time for shipping and distribution. Whereas, the crops at your local farm are usually picked at their peak of ripeness. Not only is this a whole lot tastier, but studies are showing that seasonal produce contains more nutrients when allowed to ripen naturally.
Here are some helpful charts we’ve put together for seasonal options during fall, winter, and spring months:
Now that you have delicious, local produce, how can you prepare them? So many, many ways! Toby’s archive of recipes for all seasons is at your disposal. Here are a few of our fall and wintertime favorites: