Loving Local: Why Eating with the Seasons helps your Palate, your Purse, and the Planet

At The Farm Stratford we pride ourselves on a vibrant array of fruit and veg. But with the prices on our delivery notes fluctuating like never before (changing literally every day!), it’s never been more important to think about the produce we’re buying. 

Eye-watering Watermelons  

Known for their novel taste, the watermelons we were buying a few months back became so expensive that it became ludicrous to sell them. Even the same products can fluctuate hugely in price based on the time of year. When in season and in demand, prices drop significantly while the reverse is true when you’re shipping expensive products from abroad to meet a limited demand.  

Saved by the Market Garden  

At The Farm we’re lucky to have a gorgeous market garden – filled with delicious seasonal produce from raspberries and strawberries in the summer to cauliflowers and carrots in the cooler months. The Nourish chefs and deli team use this produce to create some of our favourite Farm dishes – from the market garden salad to roasted veg for our Sunday roasts. But as much as we love it, our garden doesn’t have the capacity to meet all the demands of our busy café and shop – cue seasonal veggies.  

To help you navigate the tricky world of seasonal eating, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to our fruit and veg here at The Farm, to help you understand what to buy…and when. If you’re a regular visitor to The Farm, look out for a shiny new blackboard we’ve put together listing our most popular produce throughout the year. On that chart, we point out each product’s peak season – and highlight that where a product is available out of season, it’s less likely to be local and will (almost certainly) be more expensive.  

Here's a guide to some of our most popular fruit and vegetables according to season (you’ll see on our blackboard in-shop that seasonality can be further broken-down month by month, but we’ve categorised our fruit and veg according to the four seasons to give you a broader picture of the best things to eat when): 

As well as saving your purse and your planet, locally bought produce does wonders for your palate.  

The soils in our area support the evolutionary needs for living in a certain place, so local produce is a winner when it comes to looking after your health. Not to mention the quality of food is better when it’s in season! Tastier, fresher, cheaper…locally sourced, seasonal produce helps you maximize enjoyment of your meals and feel inspired to get creative in the kitchen. Eating in season also means you’re more likely to eat a wide variety of foods throughout the year! 

Why not use up your leftover seasonal veggies in a comforting stew? Inspired by the gorgeous Moroccan tagine from our Autumn/Winter menu, it’s safe to say that tasty tagines and casseroles are one of our favourite winter warmers.  

Squashes, aubergine, cauliflower, potatoes…all these seasonal vegetables make the perfect addition to your favourite warming winter dishes.  

And if you fancy a break from cooking at home, you know where to find us 😊 

Eat the rainbow  

From blueberries and broccoli to beetroots and butternut squash, a colourful plate is the key to supporting your gut’s healthy bacteria. At the end of October, Sarah Grant, a nutritional therapist at Gut Reaction ran a free workshop at The Farm to highlight the importance of a diet rich in gut-friendly nutrients. Packed full of phytonutrients and antioxidants, naturally colourful foods feed the gut microbiome – contributing to disease prevention and allowing us to flourish.  


One of Sarah’s favourite messages is ‘eat the rainbow’. Embracing our inner child and remembering to eat a diet full of colour takes us one step towards a healthier life and a happier mind. The vitamins and minerals in vibrant food also play a key part in maintaining a healthy immune system and keeping our skin and hair healthy.  

Want to find out more about Sarah’s work? She’s running another free wellness workshop at The Farm on 25th January, all about reflecting on your eating and self-care habits and setting healthy intentions for 2023. 

Here’s a summary: 

  • Get up to speed on simple strategies to help you eat in optimal alignment for your body 
  • Reflect on your eating and self-care habits, and set your own inspiring Wellness Intentions 
  • Feel motivated to develop some nourishing and re-invigorating new habits  

Register for your free ticket to the event here 

 

Caption: Looking for a way to reach your 10-a-day? Look no further than our fresh fruit and veg boxes, packed full of delicious seasonal produce. Order yours online via our website or ask a team member in-store for more info on ordering and delivery.  

Asparagus, blueberries, cinnamon, and sauerkraut are a few of Sarah Grant’s favourites – you can find asparagus and blueberries here in the summer months while the latter are the perfect addition to winter warmers like porridge and hearty stews or toasties. (The deli serves a delicious vegan cheese and kimchi toastie – full of flavour and all the fermented goodness!) 

So, where to begin? 

With so much conflicting information on nutrition coupled with an abundance of choice in our supermarkets, figuring out the best way to eat for the wellbeing of your body and the planet is no easy task. So where to start? Before searching for the latest superfood trend, get yourself well-versed in the basics. What’s in season? What kind of produce is available to me locally? Which foods are the most financially friendly? By giving yourself a greater understanding of the foods accessible in your area, you naturally move one step closer to building a rich repertoire of dishes that support not only your palate, but your purse and the planet too.  

Written by Lily Holbrook 

Environment and Sustainability Coordinator at The Farm Stratford