You'll notice that the veg you receive in your veg box will change across the year. Here's five reasons why seasonal and local is the best combination for our health and the environment when it comes to buying fresh produce.
1. Eating seasonal and local food reduces the energy needed to grow and transport the food we eat. Growing food when the climate is appropriate for it means that we don't need to use hothouses (greenhouses usually heated by burning fossil fuels) to grow produce that needs protection from the cold.
2. As well as being good for the planet, it's good for our bodies too. Food in season contains the nutrients that we need at different times of the year. Research has also shown that fruit and vegetables that are ripened naturally (rather than artificially, if grown out of season) are better quality and can taste better.
3. Local seasonal food will be fresher as it has had less far to travel before reaching your plate.
4. Unless it's a fragile leafy green, you won't find it wrapped in plastic, which is necesssary for produce with a longer supply chain to reduce food waste.
5. One of the best consequences of eating seasonally is that you become more connected to natural growing cycles and appreciate the diverse range of produce that can be grown across the year. We savour delights such as locally grown asparagus or sweetcorn for the limited weeks they are available. We have an abundance of vegetables (such as salads, aubergines, courgettes, beans, etc.) in the summer, perfect for light meals on hot days, and earthy roots and greens (such as parsnips, swede, kale, sprouts, etc.) in the winter, just right for warming stews and soups.
So why isn't everything local? Are things being bought out of season?
There are times of year when the availability of local, seasonal produce is very low. During the hungry gap, roughly March-May, summer vegetables are growing but not yet ready to harvest, and winter crops have finished. The fields may look green but that doesn't mean things are ready to pick! During these times, we will source produce from further afield. There are also some foods that don't grow in the UK (whatever the season) and yet are highly demanded (think bananas, avocados and citrus). It makes sense to buy these from places where the climate is right. And finally, there is some produce that can be grown in the UK but only for a limited time of year, but has a wider growing season in warmer countries such as Spain (for example, tomatoes). When there is demand for this, it is better for us to buy from countries where they are in season than from the UK where they are likely to have been grown in a hothouse. You can find our buying policy here.
You can download our UK seasonal calendar at the bottom of the page.