There’s two ways to think of eating seasonally: Globally and locally.
Seasonal eating is one way that we can eat sustainably, fuel our bodies with nutritious fruits and vegetables, and take care of the planet. Today, eating seasonally takes a bit of extra effort since most grocery stores carry fruits and veggies that come from long-term cold storage and are not coming fresh from their natural harvest time. We’re very fortunate to have such a plethora of produce at our fingertips, but choosing to purchase produce that is local and in season has very positive benefits for yourself, your family, and the earth.
You can shop for produce that is grown local to your area and picked during its natural harvest time, or you can shop for produce that is picked during its natural harvest time but was not grown locally. The greatest environmental benefit of local seasonal eating is that produce will travel a shorter distance and arrive to you in better eating qualities. Seasonal produce that comes from farther locations may have a higher carbon footprint, similarly to the way growing vegetables in greenhouses has, and will not be as fresh from the vine (or bush, tree, or ground) by the time it arrives to a store near you.
Depending on where you live, various seasonal produce will be available to you at your local Farmer’s market or grocery store. For example, in California, peaches, nectarines, and avocados are grown locally and are all in their natural harvest season in the summer months. I live in Washington, so I’ll find fresh cherries, blueberries, and raspberries this summer and maybe get a chance to pick them fresh myself in Chelan.
Meet the Farmers!
Local farmer’s markets are a great place to visit if you’re unsure about what produce is in season in your area. You’ll also get the chance to meet the growers of your local fruits and veggies and learn where your food came from. This help you to connect with not only your community, but the experience of seasonal produce. By purchasing produce that is fresh-picked, ripe, and ready to go, you’re preventing the risk of purchasing fruit that will expire sooner, due to prolonged shipping or storing methods creating additional food waste.
The nutritional value of produce just after it has been picked is also higher. There isn’t a large enough loss in nutrients for fruit that was picked/ stored or traveled globally for weeks to mean you shouldn’t eat produce that’s out of season, but something to keep in mind. You will reap the benefits of not only eating seasonal produce and supporting local farmer’s markets, but also practicing sustainable eating.
The next time you’re at a grocery store near you or at a local farmer’s market, keep in mind the positive impact that eating seasonally can have on you and the planet. It’s never too late to start new habits and do something beneficial for your own wellbeing and the world around you. Here are a few ideas for what to eat in the summer season.
Stemilt’s Summer Season Produce
Here at Stemilt we have quite the variety of fresh summer fruits. The first and foremost being our local WA cherries harvest between June and September. They grow from the Columbia Basin all the way to the top of Stemilt hill in Wenatchee WA. Cherry season is a busy time of the year and brings the summer days to life in our Wenatchee valley. Keep your eyes open for these tasty fruits in brands like:
Yet, cherries aren’t the only stonefruit growing in the Columbia Basin during the summer months. Here at Stemilt we grow 100% of all apricots, peaches, and nectarines organically out of the Pasco, WA area. You can find them under the Artisan Organic® brand all summer long. Picking stone fruit that are tree-ripened is our priority when it comes to harvest. Each fruit is picked by hand at just the right time.
We harvest apricots daily from late June through July. Peaches and nectarines are harvested closely after, usually starting in late July and wrapping up in late September. For peaches and nectarines, that means we may go into the same orchard four or five times to pick the fruit when it’s ripe.
Closing out the summer months to make their seasonal debut are our early apples and pears. Look for the Rave® apples in stores in August to kick off the fresh apple season. For the pear lovers make sure to see your eyes out for the Bartlett Pears whose harvest will start just a few days after. You can find out more about when Stemilt’s fruit is in season here.
Don’t Forget to Check In!
I encourage you to leave us a message in the comments below about your seasonal eating journey and what you love to eat in the summer season. I hope I was able to shed some light on this curious topic!