Blog #11: Seasonally Sensational
Passionate about choosing fresh, tasty and locally sourced fruit and vegetables? Great - us too! If you’re green-fingered, you’ve probably used your garden or allotment to work out roughly which products grow best during the different seasons. But with modern science and technology allowing supermarkets to stock our favourite fruit and veg in supermarkets all year round, it gets a little confusing.
The best way to make sense of seasonal produce is to imagine that there is a natural body clock within fruit and vegetables which makes them grow in cycles and and ripen during particular seasons each year. For example, tomatoes and berries are great examples of produce which ripen best with warm, sunny weather, which means they are ‘in season’ during late summer. Whereas cabbages and root vegetables are in their prime during much cooler, wetter weather, meaning that they come into season in the winter months.
So what difference does it make if something is in season we hear you cry? Nine times out of ten, food that’s in season is fresher, tastier and much better for you than food which isn’t. What’s more, it’s usually cheaper as there’s much more of it around.
We use seasonal produce as the holy grail when developing our new menus, weekly specials and events, ensuring that we buy all our ingredients locally where possible. September is the best month for runner beans, courgette and blackberries. However, cabbage, blueberries, lettuce, sweetcorn, kale, leeks and bramley apples are also likely to be in season, so keep an eye on them too!
If you’re anything like us, the mere mention of apples and berries gets our hearts racing for homemade jams, preserves and chutneys! At the end of the day, it’s important to make the most out of the local produce which is growing on our doorsteps!
One of our main commitments to local produce has been the launch of our allotment project - Community Roots. This is an allotment that we began supporting in May, which is run by a voluntary team through Southampton Voluntary Services. The team have been doing a great job of growing lots of different fruit and vegetables, and we’re hoping to start using this local produce in a Community Roots cafe in the near future - watch this space!
If you want to get your hands on some seasonal produce of your own, we would highly recommend our friends at Sunnyfields Farm in Totton. Sunnyfields make up some amazing fruit and veg boxes which you can have delivered directly to your home. They arrive jam-packed with a great mixture of the best seasonal produce, with plenty of combinations to choose from.