Are seasonal foods worth the hype?
You have probably seen the growing amount of farmers’ markets popping up in your local neighborhood, as there is a stronger demand for more local, seasonal foods now more than ever. So where does this hype come from, and is seasonal food actually better for you than massively produced produce?
Why is eating season produce important?
Food that is grown and consumed according to its season is actually proven to be more nutritious. Vitamin C is one of the most unstable vitamins we know, and fruits and vegetables can lose from 15-77% of their vitamin C content within the first week.
In studies monitoring vitamin C content of certain produces, it is found that produce at its peak season had a higher vitamin C content alone, versus the same produce grown out of peak season. When produces are grown out of their original season, they are not able to follow their natural growing and ripening rhythm for optimal nutrition, and certain fruits and vegetables that are believed to be all year round are treated post-harvest with chemicals such as ripening agents. Produce matured this way is not as tasty or nutritious as they are if they were grown naturally.
A study that reviewed variation in nutrient composition of different crops found that rice can vary from p.7 – 6.4mg/100g in its iron content by cultivar. The common banana we consume can vary from <1 μg/100 g for some cultivars to 8500 μg/100 g In its beta carotene content.
Seasonal food really does taste better
If you have tasted freshly picked strawberry or fresh produce from your garden, you know it tastes a lot more delicious. Because they are nutrition-rich, they preserve more of their rich vibrant favor when they are fresh.
Shopping at the local farmer’s markets is one of the best ways to get access to a variety of fresh seasonal produces. Oftentimes, farmers love to share which produces are the best at the time and the best way to eat. You can also look for signs such as “in season” at the grocery store you shop. You don’t need a fancy recipe to cook seasonal foods as they are naturally flavourful. It is great to load up on produces that are in season and ferment them. So you can enjoy the delicious seasonal foods even after the season is over.
Consuming seasonal food has a better environmental impact
It is hard to calculate the environmental impact of the food system, as there are so much different implications depending on water use, biodiversity, or soil degradation. There are few studies out there that truly measure the environmental impact. However, a study in the UK has concluded that eating seasonal food reduces greenhouse gas emissions because it doesn’t require high energy input from artificial lighting and heat as the produce is grown “in season” for it to thrive. Produce that is grown out of season in artificially heated glasshouses are thus require higher greenhouse gas emission.
Seasonal food Supports your body needs
We are all part of the same environment and nature knows best. In the winter, naturally produce more products that are rich in vitamin C which helps us prevent infectious disease and more root vegetables for warming meals. In the summer, we are provided more with beta-carotene and other carotenoids that help us protect against the sun.
As we have seen above the many wonders of season food and its benefits and because seasonal food is produce that is purchased and consumed around the time that it is harvested, they are limited due to the condition and season of where they are produce. It is not easy to get varieties of seasonal foods.
R’s KOSO uses the highest quality ingredient to retain its natural optimal nutrition. R’s KOSO is made with varieties of ingredients that are harvested in season. These seasonal ingredients are fermented and mixed together with foods from different seasons. So, you get ingredients from all year round which was harvested at their best time. With R’s KOSO, it is possible to consume a variety of seasonal foods efficiently.
Seasonality and dietary requirements: will eating seasonal food contribute to health and environmental sustainability? Cambridge University Press: 21 November 2013
Garnett, T (2008) Cooking Up a Storm: Food, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Our Changing Climate. Surrey: University of Surrey, Food Climate Research Network, Centre for Environmental Strategy
DeClarke, F (2013) Harnessing biodiversity: from diet to landscapes. In Diversifying Food and Diet, pp. 17–34 [Franzo, J, Hunter, D, Borelli, T and Mattei, F editors]. Oxon, UK: Routledge