Simple Steps In Frugality and Green Living #4 ~ Eating Local Seasonal Foods
I don't know about your home but in mine our greatest expense is food costs. Everyone wants to save a little on groceries but in our home I am not prepared to give up fresh organic whole foodstuffs to save a buck or two. Therefore I need to find a way to save on food costs where I can.
The first thing is to grow what I can. I will be completely honest here and say that I do not believe that we have saved money yet on this because of the amount of money that went into setting up the beds, pathways and fences. In the long run though we will save as there are no more costs in the initial setup.
By growing our own organic vegetables we are also eating as locally as one possibly can! No food miles here....just a couple of food metres! Our environment is saved just a little as my marrows, beans, tomatoes, salads, spinach and others are grown outside the kitchen door.
A great source of local seasonal foods are farmers markets where you can buy food from your surrounding areas. Unless you specifically seek out organic food markets you will more than likely find that the produce at farmer's markets are not necessarily organic, so do ask when you are at their stalls. They may be organic in conversion or grown with ecofriendly measures, but either way these markets are a good source.
Secondly, buying seasonal food means that prices are lower. Right now we are heading into the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables and the prices are dropping daily. Learning to wait for things that you love but aren't in season is a trait that you can learn...avos are my great temptation when out of season, but I am getting better at avoiding them as they never deliver the rich creamy in season taste out of season! Strawberries were also an issue being in the store long before mine were ready, but I didn't want to buy any as they are not grown ethically via commercial farmers and my baskets were showing promise.
Cooking seasonally is also better for your family, not just the earth. If you buy fruit and veg out of season that is imported this produce is generally artificially ripened with hormone filled gases which is pumped into the containers just before the ships dock with the produce. If you have ever tasted a sun ripened summer tomato versus a shipped in gas ripened one you can immediately tell the difference.
A way to overcome the seasonal food issues like needing tomatoes for a soup or stew in winter is by canning or freezing your produce while it is plentiful. This doesn't have to be homegrown, it can be shop or market bought.
If you are new to this way of eating I suggest that you beging to plan your meals on what is in season in your hemisphere. Here is South Africa we have the following in season now:
Berries and Cherries
Melons (watermelon and spanspek)
This week we have been really feasting on apricots and our blackberry bramble has dished up loads of berries. My elder daughter made a scrumptious blackberry and apple pie for us. The apples during this season are all cold room apples from the end of the apple season, but are still great for pies.
Check this list for other general seasons.