Why Cook for the Season

Brittany Wright | November 6, 2014

Brittany Wright of Wright Kitchen on What’s Fresh in the World of Produce

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As popular culture becomes further imbued with eating clean — remaining healthy and mindfully selecting that which enters our bodies — one important element toward this pursuit of a healthy lifestyle is still consistently overlooked: how to eat in season. Here, Seattle-based Brittany Wright of Wright Kitchen explains the importance of eating in season and takes bad ass photos that miraculously make radishes look as delectable as cheesecake.  

I recently attended dinner at a dimly lit restaurant in downtown Seattle. The chef, also a butcher and farmer, foraged the plated mushrooms earlier that day. She used the last of her season’s tomatoes for the evening’s soup, which featured her hand-raised meat and eggs, as well. In fact, every fruit and vegetable presented was handpicked from her farm. Her dedication underscored an increased appreciation of eating in season, while the flavors underscored its value.

While we can’t all have a working farm at our disposal, it’s important to keep in mind what grows seasonally because eating those foods allows us to gain higher nutritional worth from what we’re consuming — eating out of season tends to mean you’re only getting a portion of the food’s potential nutrients. It also provides an opportunity for farmers to honestly and healthfully harvest.

If you shop at local markets, you’ll notice the last bits of summer are fading away. Corn and blueberries are being replaced by carrots, leeks, cauliflower, greens, and several varieties of squash. But while seasonality is unavoidable at the farm stand, it’s something you may not be aware of stepping into your local grocery shop, where everything is made so available. To ensure your fruits and veggies are in-season, here are some things to look out for:

1. Price. When the prices go up, that typically means the produce is not in season. People tend to believe that the cost of food is higher when purchased from a farm while in season, but it’s quite the opposite — it’s only when you begin to buy out-of-season that prices inflate.

On this note, too, in-season and local eating can mean less money spent on fuel for delivery. Some of your food has likely been shipped across the world to you, which means someone had to harvest, pack up and transport that nourishment to your city, offload and distribute it to the correct locations, and then put it out for you to purchase. All of this jacks up the food’s cost to you.

2. Abundance. This is typically a good thing — the more there is of something, the more likely it is that the item in question is in season.

3. Taste. Foods that are in season tend to retain a much more powerful and poignant taste than ones that are being grown out of season. Blueberries in November, for example, will taste considerably duller than ones grown in the peak of summer.

Particular fruits that are currently in season: pomegranates, apples, pears, and fresh cranberries.

Vegetables that are currently in season: Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Greens, Green Beans, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnip, Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Shallots, Sunchokes, Winter Squashes

Going forward, I will be highlighting one fruit or vegetable each week on Man Repeller, cataloging its nutritional benefits and providing a recipe for us to try. Stay tuned.

  • Dude, I am so happy about the pomegranates being back in season!

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    • andrea raymer

      Same.

  • Ooo, love veggies & fruits *excited*

  • Quinn Halman

    This is great! I LOOOVE food, I mean, who doesn’t, but I get such satisfaction out of cooking and baking and putting my own spin on recipes, i.e I add cinnamon to pretty much everything. YOU stay tuned for the pictures I’ll be posting in the comments section of my attempt of the recipe.

  • What an awesome installment! I love how nuanced Man Repeller is becoming; there are now several unique installments in the mix that we, as readers, can look forward to rather periodically.

    One of the other important reasons (the most important one, in my eyes) of eating seasonal produce, is that it can help to reduce carbon footprint. And for many of the same reasons Brittany mentioned regarding price! Yet another example of how being environmentally-conscious doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing comfort — be that financial or otherwise.

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  • Amelia Diamond

    WHAT ABOUT AVOCADOS WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM CAN I KEEP EATING THEM?

    • Avo season in California is late-March to mid-September. But the perpetual warmth often allows for year-round production.

    • Also, thought this was funny. Bagels on the east coast vs. bagels on the west coast, as documented by my friend and me.

      As much as I’ve always loved lox and cream cheese, could REALLY use an avocado that isn’t hard as a rock, rn.

      • Charlotte Fassler

        The avocados at my grocery store are MUTANTS right now. They are so large and more closely resemble a guava. I tried to snapchat it to my friends but they couldn’t even get a sense of scale.
        All I know is that they’re terrifying and I need to bring some back from California stat.

        • Yeah dude it’s crazy. I also wonder how long they’ve been in circulation. Like some of the big ones that are hard as a rock. I can just envision them sitting in some odd freezer space for hundreds of years.

          Like the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, but with avos.

          Fill up your suitcase next time and sell for a pretty penny. Very rare bruh bruh.

  • Amelia Diamond

    on a real note i had no idea pears were in season. aPEARantly they are!

  • I’m really looking forward to this installment! YES. Also, I’d love to know which restaurant downtown Seattle served you this amazing farm-to-table meal (as a Seattleite myself, I’m always looking for new, delicious places to try out).

  • Lulu

    I can never read articles about food without becoming instantly hungry! Now I’m craving lox and cream cheese, avocados on toast, and for some reason celery….

    • Leandra Medine

      I don’t think i have ever craved celery — so good on you.

  • I love that all the veggies are fresh during this time, its so refreshing when its cold outside.

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    Daphne

  • Kandeel

    I just roasted a big batch of pumpkin, sweet potato and butternut squash this weekend! Eating in season is great

  • laprairielily

    Please name the restaurant! (Not that I live anywhere near Seattle, it just sounds cool.)

  • desideropacem

    You are absolutely right. I also try to shop what is in season and I’m looking forward to see your upcoming fruit/vegetable posts…

    Lots of Love
    Verena Fiona | London, Paris, Milan, bla… |

  • ClaireUnderwear

    I live in Minnesota, so unless I want my vegetables rotten with a side of frost-bite, I can’t exactly eat seasonally in the winter. Luckily I have some veggies frozen and canned from earlier in the year.

  • Karishma

    This is a feature I’m definitely going to look out for. 🙂