Food-related trends emerge, blow up, and fizzle out like nobody’s business. Sometimes they villainize certain foods or food groups, other times they glamorize. It’s hard to keep up with the fads and even harder to keep up with what’s actually good for our bodies and our sweet mama earth.
When it comes to the way we relate to food, it doesn’t have to be trendy or come attached to a flashy name. The simpler, the better.
There’s something to be cherished from knowing precisely what you’re putting in your body and where it came from. Eating locally and seasonally are two key ways to keep your eye on the origins of what you munch on. But, why?
For starters, it’s good for your health, and it promotes balance when it comes to the distribution of the earth’s resources.
“Eating seasonally and locally is a quick choice with a huge impact. When the environment feels out of our control, what we feed ourselves and our families on a daily basis can truly make a difference. It’s an empowering feeling! An ethical and sustainable food system already exists. We simply must choose it!” Kelsea Alba from The Organic Box shared with us.
So with further insight from Kelsea, here are some simple tips for eating seasonal all year round in the most challenging country in North America.
Look to the Google Gods.
If you’re getting mindful about where you spend your money and get your goods, you might as well go all the way. Research nearby or neighbouring vendors on Google and social media. Share your food-related values in your research and conversations, and make sure that you trust their mission statements.
It’s not just about buying organic. It’s about buying organic from small-scale farmers. Why? Because you get the chance to build a connection with those growing your food and stewarding the land. At The Organic Box, we’re in constant communication with our network of small-scale farmers. We’ve seen their agricultural practices first-hand, we know what conditions they are working in, and we’ve heard stories about their challenges and how they’ve decided to overcome them.
On top of that, researching will help you find the best deals and the food that’s closest to home. This may mean getting your dairy from one place and your produce from another, but trust us, it’s worth it to support the businesses (and food) you’re in love with.
Be proactive: dry, freeze, preserve, & pickle
So, how the heck are we supposed to eat locally when not much grows ‘round here in the winter? It’s all about getting proactive in the summer.
Buy case-lots! There are often great deals on bulk fruit and vegetables when they’re in season. You’ll get way more bang for your buck! Have a party with your friends, or tune up a good podcast and get after it: can, jam, pit! It’s a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it when you open up that tasty can of homemade tomato sauce in the middle of the winter.
Shop at farmer’s markets.
Farmers’ markets make it easier than ever to eat seasonally. Farmers bring their A-games when it comes to growing and forging seasonal goodies for market season. It’s what’s abundant, thriving, and delicious, so why wouldn’t they!? On top of that, you’re far more likely to get food grown close to home if you shop at your local markets.
Get yourself a middle man.
You can’t always get everything you need in a one-stop-shop. So rather than accidentally buying from factory farms because it happens to be there when you’re at the big-name grocery stores, have someone bring it to you! There are tons of fantastic delivery services such as The Organic Box that act as the middle man between you and the farms that make your food. Easy as pie.
Put that green thumb to work.
If you enjoy gardening, it doesn’t get much closer than that! Grow what you can outdoors during the summer and indoors during the winter. Of course, it’s easier said than done in the winter. Though, herbs are a piece of cake and add that local goodness to even the dreariest winter dishes.
Root veggies to the rescue.
Embrace your local supply of potatoes, carrots, beets and winter squash! If you’re getting bored, switch up the varieties you’re eating or get creative with the recipes you’re using. Root vegetables are a blessing to us northerners!
Let root veggies be your saving grace in colder months: carrots, parsnips, beetroots, rutabagas, radishes, turnips, and more. Some of these resilient little babies adore cooler weather. Root vegetables are the perfect place to look to when you’re trying to eat seasonally because some actually taste sweeter with frosts. They can even be harvested in mid-winter thaw-zones.
Cook (more often) at home.
There’s no way to truly know what you’re eating and where it came from unless you’re buying it and preparing it yourself. We’re not suggesting you walk around suspicious of everyone who hands you a plate of food. But, it’s better on the body and bank account when you have full control over your meals.
Keep it simple.
The more complicated the dish, the more complicated ingredients. If you stick to meals with just a handful of ingredients, you can likely whip it up with what you’ve got at home (or easily substitute). This ain’t Top Chef, if the list of ingredients stresses you out, maybe you should look for something more simple.
Eating locally and seasonally is a beautiful way to celebrate your local makers, Mother Earth, and that body of yours! It’s a rewarding experience, to say the least. We’d like to thank The Organic Box and Kelsea Alba for her wise words.
The Organic Box is an Albertan organic food delivery subscription service. They deliver to Edmonton, Central Alberta, Calgary, and the Bow Valley. Owned and operated by a local Edmonton farm family, these folks know a thing or two about eating right from Albertan soil.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Organic Box and getting some local goodies delivered to your door, here’s the 411.
Inside your box, you just might find a special gift from us!