I know that it’s easier to simply buy all your food in one place, but the supermarket can’t give you that sense of local, seasonal eating the way your Farmer’s Market can. The whole idea of eating what’s in season can get lost on the average supermarket shopper.
Our grocery stores offer us produce from all over the world – all the time – just to satisfy our desires for fresh peaches in the dead of December or apples in July.
And as anyone who lives in Southern California knows, identifying the seasons here isn’t all that clear-cut. I think we basically have two seasons – warmer and cooler – but one doesn’t necessarily follow the other. We can have gloom in June and major heat waves during Halloween – and we mark the seasons by the calendar, not the weather.
So it wasn’t until I became a regular at my local Farmer’s Market that I started to figure it out. I started marking the seasons by the foods that were available and the subtle changes in the offerings from week to week. I’ve come to anticipate the first Brooks cherries that arrive before the Bings and I love to note how different the early May Pride peaches taste compared to the O’Henry’s that arrive in August.
It’s great finding new foods and new varieties to try – and it’s such a fantastic way to introduce more fruits and vegetables into the diet. Now, rather relying on navel oranges all winter, I switch to tart, deep-red Moro blood oranges in March. This week I’m eating baby purple artichokes – something I’d be hard-pressed to find at my local grocery store. Switching it up not only helps to beat the boredom, but there’s more nutritional benefit to be had from a wider variety, too.
If you’re not a regular, start by visiting your Farmer’s Market and buying something you’ve never tried – or at least a new variety of a food that you haven’t eaten before. Then, be thankful to the farmers for introducing you to foods they’ve chosen to grow – not because they look perfect or travel well – but simply because they taste so good.
Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.