October 12, 2010
I’ve made a lot of changes this past year, to improve my diet. It was always pretty good, but I knew it could be better. One of the improvements I’ve made is to start shopping at the farmers’ market. This is a great way to get fresh produce, while also supporting local farmers. And trust me, with food production become a corporate business, local farmers need all the support they can get.
Another common recommendation I hear for improving diet, and helping your wallet, is to only buy produce that is in season. But how do we know what is in season, when we live in a country where you can always find things like bananas and tomatoes in the stores, year round? Well I finally did a bit of research about this, and I made myself a spreadsheet about what is in season, when. An Excel spreadsheet, to be exact. (I know – nerd alert!) But I have found it to be really helpful. I printed it off, and have it hung on my refrigerator, where I can easily reference it whenever I’m making my shopping list.
Now if you don’t want to take the time to make your own list, there are a number of them online. Here are a few I found:
Eat Seasonal (Sustainable Table) – http://www.sustainabletable.org/shop/seasonal/
Seasonal Ingredient Map (epicurious) – http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/seasonalingredientmap
Seasonality Charts (The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) – http://cuesa.org/page/seasonal-foods
State-Specific Seasonal Produce Guides (About.com) – http://localfoods.about.com/od/searchbystate/State_Seasonal_Produce_Guides.htm
What’s in Season – specific to CA (Southland Farmers’ Market Association) – http://www.sfma.net/consumer/inseason.shtml
Of course, the best way to figure out what’s in season, is to buy your produce at a local farmers’ market. You won’t find things there that are off-season.