Summer will soon become Autumn… meaning a change in our seasonal eating. But does seasonal eating REALLY matter?
It’s always five o’clock somewhere… or so the saying goes.
Now whilst that is factually true to apply the principle to eating and seasonality of food and fruit and vegetables is kind of pointless. We can get hold of ANYTHING at any time of the year these days. The 365 days a year, year-round availability of pretty much everything from Asparagus grown in Peru to tomatoes from Holland is very much the norm in the UK supermarket.
With that being the case, the flagrant disregard for our own British growing seasons has become something of a fighting cause for celebrity chefs and foodies throughout these isles… but is it all a sham? Do we really like a cheeky asparagus soldier with our boiled egg any day of the year? Well it appears so because a new survey by BBC Good Food Magazine has found our knowledge of the seasons to be absolutely rubbish, no matter what we say!
The survey considered the views of 2,000 people and the results are pretty surprising to those of us who know and love our food. Of the 2,000 people surveyed, just 5% could say when blackberries were at their best and all plump and juicy. Only 4% could accurately say when the great British plum was at its best and only one in 10 could say when it’s the season for that unsung king of fruit… the gooseberry. What makes this all the more surprising is that 86% of those surveyed said that they believed in the importance of seasonality and 78% claimed to be doing their shopping on a seasonal basis!
In the great scheme of the UK’s food related problems and shortcomings is seasonality really a biggie? We’ve got obesity, far too many salty and sugary ready meals and still a pretty rubbish school dinner policy in some parts of the country…so does it really matter if we know when broad beans are at their finest?
It is tricky to make sense of what is actually in season these days. You can go to a supermarket in March and Strawberries will be on special offer?!! So why do we bother? Well it’s the view of the BoroughBox team that seasonality does matter and there is a natural body clock to food that makes seasonal food just taste better… and at the end of they day that’s what we like most about eating isn’t it!
Quality of flavour is high on the list of why it might be worth knowing your foodie seasons. A pale, unripe January tomato is a foul, foul thing and an Eton Mess full of Strawberries in the middle of the Christmas table would be a very strange site indeed!
But even if you ignore the flavour aspect (tricky I know!), in our eyes, perhaps the most compelling argument of all is that by eating seasonally we are supporting British producers who make and grow amazing and incredible products. Unless you’re really after those blood oranges or pineapples which we all enjoy and should enjoy, then by shopping seasonally you should, by and large, find yourself buying British. That can only be a good thing.
Even if we ignore the carbon footprint and food miles or even the flavour, it is pretty depressing to find supermarkets selling Peruvian asparagus in the middle of May when the Vale of Evesham is churning out some of the finest product in the world at that time. In fact, an article in the Guardian tells us that in 2012, only 23% of the fruit and vegetables we bought were home grown!
As a small country we are far from self-sufficient, but when we have such incredible produce and products grown on these fair isles we can surely do a bit better than that!
So how can BoroughBox help you with your food seasons?
Well stay tuned and sign up to our newsletter. We have all sorts of exciting developments coming up with our product range and Foodie News so we’ll keep you abreast of when you should b shopping for your asparagus and plums to your green beans and Jerusalem artichokes. You’ll also have the chance to win a custom £500 BoroughBox, a rare breed meats box and a bread making course at Borough Market.
Sign up here and go eat your runner beans before they’re gone!