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Eating Seasonally: A Beginner’s Guide

Updated: 7 days ago

It is commonly said that people should be eating foods that are ‘in season’ - but do we really know what this means? Grace Clift digs into why we should embrace the fruits and vegetables the season has to offer.


Image Credit: Nadine Primeau via Unsplash


The concept of ‘eating seasonally’ can be confusing to many. It sounds great to eat seasonal but, why should we? As tempting as it may be to have avocado toast in the autumn- is there a better choice we could make? Which food comes from which season? Will it cost more? This guide to eating seasonally will hopefully answer many of these questions, including a full seasonal guide to fruit and vegetables. 


Eating seasonally involves eating fruit and vegetables at the same time period that they’re grown, in order to get the best tasting fresh produce, as well as minimising its carbon footprint. Fruit and vegetables hold benefits that naturally support what your body needs according to the season it’s grown in; for example, citrus fruits in winter provide vitamin C for colds. 


There are many benefits to choosing to eat foods that are in season.


The Nature Conservancy defines carbon footprint as ‘the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions’. In the context of food, caring about carbon footprints means considering the amount of actions (creating greenhouse gases) that go into getting your food from farm to plate. Local, seasonal foods require less preservatives and travelling time to get them to supermarkets. Charlotte Turner at Health Nutritionist notes, “Once foods are harvested, vitamins such as vitamin C rapidly decline, and storage of products can mean that there is very little nutritional content left [by the time they get to shelves].”


2.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables will be the freshest, so why wouldn’t you choose them? This means they’ve been picked at the perfect time – not too early, in order to make them last longer into the next season. 


3.

If strawberries are in season, it means there’s more than enough to go around. This means prices won’t be hiked up due to sparsity, and production costs aren’t higher in order to get them to supermarkets throughout the year. As well as this, eating seasonally supports your local economy, by giving local farmers a profitable opportunity to sell to large companies, rather than production and preservation teams taking mass amounts of the profit. 


Where can I find seasonal produce?

Cheaper fruits and vegetables tend to be seasonal, and they sometimes say their season on the packaging. Check out if they’re local – this means they’re probably seasonally ripe. Farmers markets are a great way to support local farmers and cut out the middle-man of production teams, but prices can vary from very cheap to very expensive. Remember that lots of fruit and veg can easily be grown at home, so either check out what can be grown on the windowsill of your flat, or see if your university has a community garden.


Which fruits and veg come from which season?

A full guide can be found on the Holland and Barrett website, but this will cover the basics about the most affordable fresh produce. 

January – apples, pears, carrots, mushrooms

February – apples, pears, carrots, mushrooms

March – rhubarb, carrots, watercress

April – rhubarb, carrots, rocket, spinach, watercress

May – rhubarb, strawberries, lettuce, new potatoes, peas, peppers

June – rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, broccoli, cucumber, peas  July – rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, broccoli, cucumber, peas

August  – rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, broccoli, cucumber, peas 

September – rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, mushrooms, garlic, broccoli 

October – apples, pears, mushrooms, cucumber, lettuce, onions 

November – apples, pears, mushrooms, onions, potatoes 

December – apples, pears, mushrooms, onions, potatoes 


Now you have all the information you need to go and fill your plate with seasonal fruits and vegetables. To conclude, here are the main lessons that you can share with your friends and family to encourage them to try eating seasonally:


1) Eating seasonally is better for you, your wallet, and the environment. 

2) The aim with eating seasonally is to reduce your food’s carbon footprint. 

3) Local produce is most likely to be in season.


To learn more about eating seasonally, check out these useful websites:



About the Author: Grace Clift is an English Literature student at the University of York with particular interest in UK politics, climate issues and arts. Grace can be contacted via her email, gracevclift@gmail.com, or through Instagram @gracevclift



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