The Pleasure of Seasonal Eating
Making the shift to real food eating can make your budget skyrocket… if you don’t shift your food buying mindset in addition. When we first jumped onto the “real food” boat and started focusing more on organic fruits and veggies, I just continued to grocery shop like I always had.. by making a one-stop-shopping-trip to the local chain store. The only difference is that I would just head to the “organic” section instead of, well.. the rest (ie, almost all) of the produce section.
The organic section at your local grocery chain, unless you have a very special grocery store, is not only small, but it is also extremely expensive in most cases! And, as I only realized after moving away from shopping at these stores, oftentimes old and low quality. Why? Because many produce choices are from across (or outside) the country– these stores try to offer you all of the vegetables at all times of the year. I may be stupid, but I didn’t even know that vegetables weren’t in season all year round before I left the chain stores.
There is a better option! We didn’t discover it until our budget was busting at the seems and we were desperate for a new source of food. We started buying locally, from farmer’s markets.
This is what I discovered from doing this:
- Vegetables are actually really good when they are fresh.
- Vegetables are also extremely cheap when they are fresh.
- Not all vegetables are going to be accessible year round, and that is actually not a bad thing.
Just think about it for a second… don’t you think that if we were meant to have all the fruits and veggies all year round that God would have created it that way? It isn’t natural for us to have to ship in our perishable food from different countries! For almost all of the world’s history, this wasn’t even possible. God created the earth with the ability to provide for all of our needs. That’s just how good He is.
This may sound crazy to you. “Is she seriously suggesting that I only eat strawberries in May and June?? And am I supposed to never eat any vegetables in the winter??” No, I am not suggesting these things. It is not bad to eat imported food every once in a while. It is not bad to eat preserved produce throughout the winter (in fact, we just got through canning 2 bushels of apples and 1 bushel of beets that will get us through the winter… yum!!). However, you will be surprised if you start to buy the produce that you find at the farmer’s market. We found that our food cravings, instead of being more intense because of our always changing diet, actually started to change with the seasons.
An example: I am a serious lover of strawberries. Pie, jam, with chocolate, with other berries, ice cream, by itself, and any other way you can think of, I love it. When strawberry season came around, I was eating the juicy little berries every day. They seemed to always be on my mind (well, not really-that would be slightly concerning). I lamented the idea of the weather warming up and them disappearing. But then… they were gone, and surprisingly, I didn’t really care; I forgot about them. The same thing happened with cucumbers, beets, winter squash, and apples. And most of those foods I didn’t even used to like! I am convinced: God gives us the food we need, when we need it.
Here’s what I think: the seasons are in line with us. We are in line with the seasons. Strawberries don’t only not grow in fall because of the weather, they don’t grow in fall because they aren’t our biggest need. Yes, we can eat preserved strawberry jam and frozen strawberries in the fall, but we don’t need the huge bounty we had in the spring! In addition to that, it’s just good ol’ variety- without overwhelming us with too many options and allowing us to “obsess” over all things pumpkin flavored! (Do you really thing this would happen if pumpkin was always around? No.)
Isn’t God great!?!? He always provides. Everything around us nourishes us in some way-our soul with beauty, our body with food. His love surrounds us. Let’s put our trust and our health in His hands. :)
And for those of you wondering “Well how come there is virtually no fresh produce in the winter, then?”, stay tuned for another post coming soon!