The FoodPrint Seasonal Eating Challenge
At the height of summer, eating seasonally may come so easily, you don’t even realize you are doing it. Hot weather calls for juicy watermelon, sweet corn, fresh tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender peaches.
But beyond the obvious flavors, there is a wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables to explore at the farmers’ market that can help expand and extend your seasonal eating. Among the many to seek out, there are sweet-tart ground cherries, millennial pink radicchio, custardy pawpaws, and smoky Purple Cherokee tomatoes.
Our new FoodPrint Seasonal Eating Challenge will help you incorporate more seasonal foods like these into your diet. We’ll introduce you to new items, and our Seasonal Food Guide is a great tool to help find out what’s in season near you. We have suggestions for ingredients that are specific to certain areas, like Georgia’s Muscadine grapes or the fresh dates you’ll find in Southern California farmers’ markets, as well as ingredients you may not know about, including gooseberries and purslane. Another great way to update your produce repertoire is by trying new varieties of items you love — did you know there are more than 100 commercially grown apple varieties in the US? We have suggestions for how to find new-to-you varieties of apples, radishes, tomatoes and other much-loved produce.
Once you have your new ingredients, we also have some cooking techniques that make it easy to explore them — no-cook recipes, preserving ideas, unexpected grilling choices and more. Our Real Food Encyclopedia also has many ideas for cooking and preserving these ingredients.
Wondering why you should try eating seasonally more often? Not only will you be tasting the freshest, most flavorful produce you can get your hands on, but when you buy directly from farmers through Community Supported Agriculture shares (CSAs) or at farmers’ markets, you also help support your local economy and make sure more money ends up with the producer. And by shopping locally, your food will pass through fewer hands and travel fewer miles, reducing potential contamination, spoilage/waste and energy use/environmental damage. You’ll also be supporting a more biodiverse food system and all of the benefits that brings to your local ecosystem.
Ready to get started? Download the Seasonal Eating Challenge PDF to get our ingredient and technique suggestions. As a first step, challenge yourself to try at least one new food each week. You could up the ante and strive for three items a week, or push the challenge to five or more new items a week. Pick up a journal or notebook to keep track, jotting down what you tried, what you liked, how you cooked it and favorite recipes you discover. See how many new fruits and vegetables you can try!
Follow us on social media @FoodPrintOrg, ask questions and share pictures of your success trying new seasonal produce and eating seasonally. We can’t wait to see what you try.
Top photo by Prostock-studio/Adobe Stock.