Tips for Eating Locally

Eating what is in season is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, while supporting your local farmers (who will become extinct if were not careful-seriously. More on that later). All while ensuring that you are purchasing the freshest food possible. For me, purchasing local also gives me a sense of comfort, and safety in a sense, in knowing and being able to envision where it was grown. It can surely be challenging during parts of the year, and you have to be creative, and patient, especially during the long winter/early spring months. But it will pay off when late August/early Septembers bounty arrives all depending on what region you live, obviously.

Being knowledgeable about what foods are in season when can help you do this a lot easier. Its also fun for me to learn about the seasons of food. So, next time your in the produce aisle (or meat or dairy aisle), look at the packages/labels, or ask where certain foods are coming from.

Also, be forgiving with yourself. Its hard to solely eat local. Youd have a pretty boring diet for part of the year if you did. Personally, I strive to buy local when it makes sense. I bought green grapes from Chile last week, and tomatoes from a greenhouse somewhere. Buy local when you can, and as much as you can, and supplement as needed. And dont feel guilty when you supplement. Broccoli from Chile is better than no broccoli. Try to think of it that way!

When we lived in the Pacific NW, we were members at an amazing biodynamic co-op farm (check it out here and become a member if you live near Seattle/Bellevue! Theyre amazing and you really get more than you pay for if you use it all). We were only members during the summer months, but my favorite part of being members was that they only gave you weekly produce that was grown right on their farm in Carnation. No supplementing with California stuff. No tomatoes in June. Just what was grown at the farm. I loved the anticipation of progressing from early greens in June to some strawberries and broccoli to the grapes to the peppers and tomatoes of august and squash and watermelon of September. It was definitely a build up, and I loved that. If youre interested, I encourage you to find a local CSA in your area to become a part of. Youll benefit by receiving great local produce, and the local farmers will benefit from your support.

Some weeks we got way more produce than we knew what to do with. I gave some away and put as much up as I could by freezing/canning. I think this concept of putting up food for the barren winter stretch is a lost art. When local food is in abundance during its season, prepping it and freezing it (or canning if you have the time) can allow you to make it through a few more months with August peaches and frozen veggies for stir fries. Freezing berries in later summer is a GREAT way to stash them. Blueberries and raspberries, especially, freeze really well.

Its springtime in England, and there isnt much produce available grown on UK soil. But there is some. (Again, Im definitely still learning how produce varies between here and Seattle. I think the climates are similar, but were definitely a bit behind in England, I think).

With spring being defined as March/April/May, here is what is in season in England.
Potatoes
Kale
Spinach
Cabbage of several varieties
Carrots
Leeks
Parsnips
Radish
Spring Onions
Strawberries
Rhubarb

Here are a few recipes ideas incorporating these spring foods: