Why you should eat local & seasonal - one woman's opinion.
Relationships with local producers
Eating local and seasonal opens the doors to this brand new world for so many of us. A world full of farmers, producers, land & ingredients that may not even know existed, let alone that they're from our own back yard.
I've built some beautiful friendships with local farmers & producers here in Edmonton just from chatting them up (and sometimes bringing coffee) at the farm stand. Let it be at outdoor markets, indoor ones or at the farm gate, I have yet to meet a producer who isn't happy to have a good chat about how the fields are doing right now and what's coming off of them! Same goes for the baker & the butcher. These people work so hard & are quite proud of what they bring to the table, with reason.
Right off the field
Produce is only at its peak nutritionally speaking for a very short moment in time, that is, when it’s picked fresh off the field. With this in mind, I emphasize the use of local seasonal ingredients (in my recipes and cookbooks) because there’s the smallest stretch of time between harvest & eating this way.
Now, I know that what is available here right now may not necessarily be available where you are at the same moment. I want to address this because it’s so important!
Farm to fork, wherever you are.
Please, use local produce whenever you can, if that means swapping an ingredient for what is available now where you are, please do it. If it means adding an ingredient because it’s abundant right now -- thus more cost effective & of better quality -- please do it.
Sometimes, I can get chard at the market here & other times I substitute it for kale because it isn’t available. That’s okay. Even though my recipes (and probably most of yours) are tested with specific ingredients, it doesn’t mean they’re set in stone. So don’t be afraid to adjust them to the seasons and make them your own!
Fresh produce vs everything else
Fresh is best. There's no doubt in my mind about this. I always suggest fresh produce over frozen or canned for reasons similar to those I mentioned above. Use your best judgment here & follow your instincts. On the flip side, if getting your spinach frozen is the best available option to you, it’s far better than not having spinach at all.
Go with the best produce you can source and afford right now. Don't beat yourself up about, just embrace it.
Not sure what’s in season right now where you are?
Head over to your local farmer’s market and ask. I know, I know, Captain Obvious right? Seriously, they will be able to guide you best!