Recipes by the Season

November 16, 2020

You may have noticed my recipes are missing the classic GF (gluten-free), DF (dairy-free), NF (nut-free) buttons or icons that typically accompany recipe pages these days. Although I understand wanting to organize recipes based on people’s preference or dietary restrictions, I wanted to offer a different perspective on how we decide what to eat or what to cook.
Recipes here are organized by season. I want to encourage you to make a recipe your own, substitute non-dairy milk for dairy milk, or gluten-free bread for regular bread, but concentrate on eating with nature in mind. Make the food decisions that you like while embracing produce for that time of year. You may be lucky enough to live in a place where you have easy access to what you want when you want it, year-round, with no problem. But is that way of approaching our food purchases and our dish selections really what is best for us and the world? We should aim to eat seasonally. Let’s talk about why:
Eating seasonally offers many health benefits. It gives us an opportunity to eat different fruit and veggies over the course of a year, and provides insurance that we will eat the rainbow, as they say. Diversity in the quality of our diets is not only a safeguard to providing the nutrients we need but it is also a major benefit to our gut health. Having a healthy gut or microbiome has been associated with a strong immune system, weight maintenance, blood sugar control and heart health, in addition to a well-functioning digestive system.

Also, eating seasonally (or rather locally) can offer us the health benefit of purchasing from farms who avoid using pesticides as a growing method. Many pesticides have been proven to have harmful effects to our health, overtime the increased exposure can become problematic. Our best defense is to purchase from growers who are upfront about their practices and avoid using these chemicals on their products. These chemicals not only hurt us but they also hurt our earth.
By humans interfering with the nature of soil and food production with man-made chemicals, although it helped us produce large quantities of certain crops, it also disturbed our ecosystem in a way that is becoming more and more difficult to resolve and overcome. Pesticides and herbicides are seeping into our water, air, and ground, destroying some of our great natural barriers to an unhealthy planet and life.
So what can we do?
Purchase from local small farms and choose to eat foods that match the season. By buying your produce at a farmer’s market or through a CSA, and now with even more options such as online or farm boxes from local grocers and restaurants, you can develop relationships with your providers. Learn more about the food you are eating, how it got to your plate, when and how it was grown. Because this all matters when it comes to a healthy planet and lifestyle.
The wins go even further!
By purchasing from these suppliers not only are you encouraging biodiverse farming practices that we know are more sustainable, but you can also support the small farms who do not rely on government subsidies and may rely solely on what they can sell. Now more than ever they need our economic support. Our society needs this support. The small farms owned by African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, and other marginalized groups, have been historically placed at a disadvantage and subject to discrimation within our food systems to this day. We should be mindful of who we are buying from, and work to create a more just food system that recognizes all those who contribute to making us and our planet healthier. To learn more, resources can be found here.
I wanted to end by sharing this article by Kathleen Squires from the Wall Street Journal in early November 2020 that highlighted Comfort Farm in Georgia, that raises turkeys. The message aligns with much of what was discussed here and gives a more personal example of the importance of knowing your food and it’s providers.