This is a vegetarian blog. It is likely that those who have visited this website know that, and if I have failed to convey this…I deeply apologize. With that being said, it is important to point out that there is a distinct reason I have decided to become a vegetarian, and that is because of the environmental impact of eating meat. Cowspiracy brought to my attention a 2006 UN report which pointed out that “rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars.” This has been examined further by more recent reports which have explored this topic in detail and confirmed the above mentioned conclusion. The reason I am talking about this is because today’s post will stray from the more typical posts about the consumption of food, and focus more on the acquisition of the food that I eat. I do this because in the end my goal is to save the planet, and I feel as if sharing may help in some small part to achieve this goal.
This is where we get to the title of this article, seasonality. It turns out that not all food grows year round. In fact, almost no food grows year round. Growing up, I was ignorant of this fact. It seemed I could have an apple anytime I wanted if I just went to the grocery store and asked my parents politely to purchase one, and that is in fact the case. Yet that apple isn’t always from near where I live. It is likely the apple I eat mid winter is actually brought in from somewhere warmer such as California, or one of the numerous countries south of our border. These countries are near the equator or are so far south that their summer occurs during my winter.
The fact of the matter is that apples in the United States have a growing season which goes from August to November at the latest. This is the time when you can go to apple orchards and pick your own apples, and each meal can have either applesauce, apple cider, or some combination of both. After this time it becomes too cold and the production of apples decreases as the trees go dormant until the next season. During this time the cost of an apple increases, not necessarily for you and your wallet, but someone must pay more for the transportation of the apples which have to come from further away. This transportation often is by semi trucks that transport the fruit and continuously spews out greenhouse gases along the way…
Last week, I made a butternut squash soup in an attempt to make a new, delicious vegetarian dish, but in doing so I became a champion against my own goal. This is not something I intend to do ever again. In order to do so I found a chart online which outlines the growing seasons of various kinds of produce found in the super market. The dark green highlights the typical growing season of the food, and the light green shows when it can easily be found, but has to be brought in from some place warmer. I did not create this chart, and a link at the bottom of this page shows its original producer who I highly recommend you give a visit. More importantly though I urge you to look for foods you commonly eat and if you normally purchase it off season to search for some alternative. I know I will be doing so, in order to reduce my personal greenhouse gas footprint.
Until next time,
The Part Time Vegetarian