Eating seasonally is a great way to ensure that food is fresh, local, and delicious. Since the ever-changing seasons also promise bountiful diversity, eating seasonally is also a great way to ensure that a rainbow of veggies (and nutrients!) end up nourishing our bodies. A Japanese study proves that spinach grown in cool weather– spring and fall, for us New Yorkers– has a higher nutrient density than spinach grown out of season, in summer or winter.
So, what’s seasonal, NYC? One great way to find out is to shop at your local Farmers’ Market! Spring is filled with lush, leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, and arugula, as well as radishes and asparagus. Summer brims with bounty: zucchini, tomato, eggplant, cucumber, corn, pepper, beet, potato, plum, cherry, berry, carrot, cantaloupe… to name a few! Fall marks the return of cool-weather crops like leafy greens and radishes, includes the late summer spill-overs of tomato and watermelon, and adds pumpkin and winter squash to the mix. Winter is a time to celebrate root vegetables in all their glory. While few vegetable plants can survive the cold, snowy, Northeast winter (though hardy greens like chard and collards have been known to succeed), carrots, turnip, winter squash, potatoes, rutabaga, and celery root can be stored in root cellars for months. Roasted root vegetables are delicious enough to eat all through the winter!
Of course, eating seasonally has other benefits, too. Since “seasonal” is relative to where we live, we support our local economies by purchasing from nearby farms. Since the food has to travel a much shorter distance to get to us, we reduce our carbon footprint. As of that weren’t enough, blind taste tests show that produce from farmers’ markets taste a whole lot better! Not convinced? Try it!