Next time you’re food shopping, skip the grocery store aisles and instead take a trip to your local farmers market to try some local, seasonal produce. Eating seasonally means buying and consuming produce around the time it was harvested. Not all produce can be grown year-round, so learning to eat what grows locally according to each season where you live makes for fresher, tastier, and more sustainable food choices. Seasonally buying food from local growers shortens the distance produce has to travel from farm to table. By picking out your own produce and making conscious decisions about what you consume, the food you eat can be more sustainable, local, and DIY.

"Through picking out your own produce and making conscious decisions about what you consume, the food you eat can be more sustainable, local, and DIY."

 

 

While eating a mango in November may be tempting, doing so increases the distance this out-of-season fruit needs to travel, often times coming from other countries. As a result, purchasing this fruit contributes to the pollution and costs required to deliver it to your grocery store. The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) reports that “the average American meal travels about 1,500 miles to get from farm to plate.” Having food travel so far from farm to table requires large expenditure of fossil fuels, which contributes to global warming. CUESA expands on the environmentally taxing process of foodstuff transportation: “It is estimated that we currently put almost 10 kcal (kilocalories, units of energy of 1,000 calories) of fossil fuel energy into our food system for every 1 kcal of energy we get as food … sea shipping is slow, and in our increasing demand for fresh food, food is increasingly being shipped by faster — and more polluting — means.” Produce that journeys such long distances is often picked while unripe and then highly processed in factories with ethylene gas, preservatives, and food irradiation (the process of exposing food and food packaging to ionizing radiation). This makes it so that it appears fresh after transport for grocery store presentation and sales — even though this isn’t always the truth. However, by choosing instead to eat seasonally and purchase, say, an acorn squash in November from a local grower, you’ll be getting riper, more flavorful, and less environmentally taxing food. Buying local is a surefire way to have the freshest, most sustainable produce options.

"Produce that journeys such long distances is often picked while unripe and then highly processed in factories with ethylene gas, preservatives, and food irridation (the process of exposing food and food packaging to ionizing radiation)."

 

At farmers markets, vendors, and farm stands of local growers, buyers can ask growers about their produce and practices. Knowing where food comes from allows consumers to make more informed and healthy choices about what they choose to put into their bodies. Consciously selecting your food allows for consumption to bring not only gustatory pleasure, but also peace of mind. 

Furthermore, eating locally helps support growers and farms from your area and reinvigorates the local economy. In-season produce costs less for farmers to harvest and distribution companies to deliver, and the shorter distance it travels keeps costs down because the produce is at its peak supply. At the markets, vendors, and farm stands of local growers, buyers can ask growers about their produce and practices. Knowing where food comes from allows consumers to make more informed and healthy choices about what they choose to put into their bodies. Consciously selecting your food allows for your consumption to be more than just gustatory pleasure, but also peace of mind.

Produce that is seasonal near you, of course, varies by region and time of year. This information is accessible online at: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/why-eat-seasonally. If you live in Boston, Massachusetts, a great option for produce is at Haymarket, a farmers market in the North End with a huge variety of vendors and inexpensive produce. Though seasonal produce is not harvested as regularly in the fall and winter months, there still are options that can be transformed into delicious recipes year-round.

 

Here is an overview of what is seasonal in December in different regions of the United States:

In Massachusetts, produce available in early December includes beets, cranberries, horseradish, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, shallots, and sprouts. These filling, hearty vegetables can make for the perfect warm, winter meal. A great meal option is a mushroom risotto with a side of baked potato and roasted parsnips. The main components of this meal can be picked up at your local farmers market and made in 45 minutes easily in your kitchen.

 

Mushroom Risotto:

 

  • 1 chopped onion

  • 6 cups vegetable broth (which can also be DIY’d — just heat up olive oil in a pan with garlic, onions, celery, carrots until those vegetables are softened for ~5 minutes. Then, add 8 cups water, and any spices you have around, though I recommend parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 45 minutes, then strain the broth and discard remaining solid vegetables, or blend the remaining scraps until liquified and add to the broth.)

  • 4 cups sliced mushrooms (you can choose your favorite, but I recommend porcini, wild, or portobello mushrooms)

  • 1.5 cups of arborio rice

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 tbsp fresh horseradish, peeled and finely chopped

  1. prepare your vegetable stock, then set aside

  2. add olive oil and onion to pot and saute for 2-3 minutes

  3. add sliced mushrooms and cover pot for a few minutes on medium heat, until the mushrooms have released some of their water

  4. remove lid and add in arborio rice with the onions and mushrooms

  5. add vegetable broth into pot and combine with vegetables, simmer for 35-40 minutes

  6. when the vegetable stock has been mostly absorbed by the rice, add salt and pepper and butter

 


Roasted Parsnips:

  • 0.5 lbs parsnips

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice to taste

  1. peel parsnips

  2. cut parsnips into strips or cubes or coins, whichever is preferred

  3. place parsnips in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and if desired, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or allspice

  4. roast for ~30 minutes, tossing half way through, until parsnips are golden brown and tender

 

Baked Russet Potato:

  • 1 baked russet potato

  • ~1 tbsp olive oil, to cover 1 potato

  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. heat oven to 425° F

  2. scrub dirt off of potato

  3. rub potato with olive oil 

  4. sprinkle salt and pepper all over the potato

  5. prick potatoes with fork around entire potato so air can release during baking

  6. bake for 45-60 minutes, flipping the potato every 20 minutes. You will know the potato is done when the inside feels soft when pricked

  7. after potato has cooled, open and enjoy with preferred baked potato fillings — I recommend salt, pepper, sour cream, cheese, butter, and chives

 

When done preparing the mushroom risotto, baked potato, and roasted parsnips, plate the risotto with your two side vegetables, and eat while still hot. Enjoy your seasonal, locally sourced meal on a cold night in December and relish your delicious, healthful, DIY choices.

eating seasonally is easier than you think

By Emily Bunn

Indiypendent

inDIYpendent knows how hard it can be to navigate college life. Instead of screwing yourself, let us help you do it yourself. We’re not about making origami frogs or building lamps out of old baby-doll heads; we’re here to help you solve a murder, start a Depop page, revolutionize the rice cooker, date without online crutches, and, ultimately, pass as a functioning adult. We may not have all the answers, but we’ve failed enough times to have learned a few tricks along the way. The world can be a scary place to face alone, so we hope we inspire you to be more inDIYpendent

more from Indiypendent:

This magazine was created by Emerson College students as a class project for "Magazine Publishing Overview."

Scroll to top

© 2019 by inDIYpendent Magazine.