For ecologists, seasons are considered a source of natural diversity. Time to embrace it!
Ingredients in season are tastier.
Ingredients in season will have a more powerful taste then when eaten out of season. Greenhouses are agricultural environments that are controlled with artificial lightening, as well as the combined action of temperature and UV-A radiations control. However, changes in growing conditions from spring to summer or fall to winter are considered essential for balancing the earth's resources and its life forms.
Ingredients in season are healthier.
In a research study conducted in 1997 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in London, significant differences were found in the nutrient content of pasteurised milk in summer versus winter (Iodine was higher in the winter; beta-carotene was higher in the summer).
The Ministry discovered that these differences in milk composition were primarily due to differences in the diets of the cows. With more salt-preserved foods in winter and more fresh plants in the summer, cows ended up producing nutritionally different milks during the two seasons.
Sourcing your food from the neighbourhood - not thousands of kilometers away.
Modern food processing and worldwide distribution of food make foods available year-round, and grocery stores shelves look much the same in December as they do in July.
Already in 1993, a Swedish researcher calculated that the ingredients of a typical Swedish breakfast (apple, bread, butter, cheese, coffee, cream, orange juice, sugar) traveled a distance equal to the circumference of the Earth before reaching the Scandinavian table.
Instead of cooking all year around with the same ingredients, you could be supporting local farmers by cooking with ingredients that grow naturally in your area.
However -- what remains important is the trust between citizens and their farmers. There is no point in purchasing an apple locally if it is being produced in a greenhouse or in terrible working conditions. Sustainability arises from an ecological, social and economic interlinkage.
Less pesticides in your plate...
Greenhouses tend to favour pest development. The warm, humid conditions and abundant food are ideal for pest to build up. Natural enemies that serve to keep some pests under control in the field are absent in greenhouses. For these reasons, pest problems often develop more rapidly and are more severe in en-closed systems. This is why greenhouses need to use more pesticides.
... and more money in your pocket.
Have you tried buying raspberries in winter?
If you don't know what is in season right now, and you want an easy start to the topic - make sure to download the Frescana app! You will be challenged to cook everyday with one ingredient in season in your region.
Photography credits: Katy Wallace