My garden is taking a sigh of relief as the night air is cooling down. Plants and even people get in the rhythm of the season change. What we crave to eat changes almost as abruptly as the temperature drops.
“Maybe I will make some soup” farmers market customers reminisce, thinking out loud in early September this year. And the last of the watermelons from the fields become a harder sale. Seems like the seasonal change is instilled in our ancient makeup even though everyday world trade and transportation of produce has erased the seasonal year. One year my fall tomato plants continued producing tomatoes into December. I was excited to have tomatoes for Christmas dinner, however our appetite for a sliced tomato wasn’t there like in the summer.
Well, think about it. The cool and moist fruits and vegetables are great for hot weather eating to help you cool down and feel refreshed. Watermelons, berries, tomatoes and cucumbers ripen when the weather warms. And now that the weather is cooling, the denser vegetables, like beets, sweet potatoes and winter squash are prime for storing and roasting. Seasonal eating would not be complete without the ‘kale yah’ and salad greens that are so prolifically grown through the colder months here in Texas.
Five reasons to eat seasonally, besides being more connected to the natural season cycles?
- Nutrition and flavor is greater when produce is just picked at peak harvest.
- Better for the environment as transportation and energy for storage is reduced.
- Supports the small and midsize farms that sell locally grown produce at the farmers market.
- **my personal favorite** Incentive to eat a broader variety of food throughout the year.
- Saves money by buying in season and creating meals in your kitchen.
The exciting news! More farmers are growing through the winter to boost their business plan by selling to shoppers at winter farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) clients and restaurant with seasonal menus. In visiting with the local farmers, they are stretching out and increasing their capacity by growing with new crop varieties, erecting hoop houses and, for some, starting indoor farming with water (aquaponics and hydroponics).
What can you do?
- Get to know the seasonal crops in Texas. Here is the GO TEXAN Seasonal Produce Guide.
- Take the taste test and broaden your seasonal palate by buying direct from local farmers.
- Make seasonal dinners and invite your family and friends to the table.
- Tell others about your experience with seasonal eating.