The importance of sourcing food seasonally
Eating seasonally? What does that mean exactly? It means focusing our meals around what produce is most available locally and in season. That means not only is it more abundant, but it’s generally fresher, more flavourful and more nutritious. Food will stay fresher longer so you will have less waste.
For those who wonder if you can eat gluten free, dairy free and even grain free on a budget, yes it can be done. I know, because for the last 7 1/2 years I’ve done it, on one income, and in one of the most expensive areas in North America. All the while I have been buying expensive extra ingredients while I test recipes and write for my website and upcoming cook books.
Over the upcoming months, I’ll be laying out tips in my blog for just how you can do it too. This month I’ll be focussing on eating seasonally and how that can impact a budget positively.
Your neighbourhood grocery stores are even starting to source more locally. A great source of seasonal local produce is also food co-ops. You can join for a small quarterly free, instead of a big chunk of money upfront. They usually have local produce and ingredients on sale weekly. In addition they will often have monthly sales of dried and bulk goods along with monthly coupons. Their bulk goods tend to be fresher and better managed for those who are worried about cross contamination. As a co-op member you benefit from extra discounts and from yearly dividends. From spring through fall farmers markets and local farmers are also an excellent source.
Discount markets in your area are great sources for seasonal and organic goods. They often get surplus which they sell at a significant discount and that surplus is often seasonal, such as citrus fruit and cabbage in winter or grain free pastas and baking ingredients. Just be sure to check for freshness as you may only have a couple of days to use it up.
In many areas you can also buy in bulk whether it be at a big box store or in the bulk section of your local health food store or food co-op.
In the end, one of the best ways to economize is to meal plan based on what you have available to you in your area for that week. Look for meal planning ideas in future blogs.