Have you noticed that less and less of us are as connected to the seasons than our ancestors were? We live in heated or air-conditioned homes; drive in air-conditioned or heated cars and work or shop in climate controlled, artificial environments. Our bodies are losing their ability to harmonize with the natural changing seasons and among other things now often need artificial environments to stay warm or cool. The effect of this creates a culture that is out of ‘sinc’ with its own natural environment, both internal and external.
We are also losing touch with what foods are naturally in season. For example, in the summer more leafy green veges are in abundance along with other naturally cooling foods such as watermelons. It makes sense to eat salads and watermelon in the heat of summer to cool us down. In the winter more warming root veges grow for soups and roasts – to keep us warm in the winter. Chickens also only naturally lay eggs during spring and into summer, not all year round. Keeping in balance with the natural seasonal rhythms is much more harmonious and healthy for your body and soul.
To keep a constant supply of all foods year round, whether they are in season or not, they’re either grown in an artificial environment or transported from other parts of the country or world, and both negatively impact the price, the taste, the nutrient quality of the products and have a negative impact on the environment.
Commercial crops destined for other places need to be harvested early in the growing cycle and refrigerated so they don’t rot during transportation, in storage or on shop shelves. Produce that is harvested early in its growing cycle hasn’t had time to fully produce its nourishing nutrients or develop its flavour. Then even more flavour and nutrients are lost while in storage, making it an inferior product we have just become used to as normal.
In addition, transported produce sometimes requires irradiation (zapping with bursts of radiation) and extra chemicals for pest control, preservatives and ripening. It also requires lots of energy, which means lots of greenhouse gases too, not just from the distance traveled but also the refrigeration along the way, and the energy that goes into packaging the food for the journey and storing it when it arrives. There is a price to pay both personally and environmentally to break out of the natural seasonal rhythms of life and lots to gain eating local in season food.
We are fast forgetting what real food tastes like, naturally ripened and fresh from the plant; food that nourishes and is full of life, freshness and flavour, rather than just looking like it should be.
The cheapest, freshest and tastiest produce is locally grown food that is in season. If you are unable to grow much of your own food, buying from a local growers market can be a very good option. Or join a local organic coop. Make a pledge to only buy food that is produced within a 100km radius of where you live.
Of course, ideally, we would be growing our own food, organically and naturally, picking it and eating it fresh, straight from garden to table. Or as is often the case with me, straight from garden to mouth as I snack, or perhaps I can call it quality control, whenever I visit my garden. Mmmm delicious! It just tastes so good.
Do you get your produce fresh, local and organic? Are you tuned into the Natural Seasonal Cycles of Nature?