Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s time we start switching up the produce we buy to make the most of everything summer harvesting has to offer. Fruit and vegetables are an absolute powerhouse of nutrients, a wonderful source of fibre, and a versatile snack. Unfortunately, we can get stuck in a bit of a rut with buying the same produce and preparing them the same way. This often means we lack variety, don’t buy seasonal, and don’t get the most out of our produce. So to make the most of everything summer harvesting has to offer, have a read.
Seasonal and Local Buying
As the seasons change, so does the produce grown. Have you ever looked at a bunch of bananas and thought they seemed a bit overpriced? That’s probably because they were shipped here from Mexico. Not much produce grows here year-round, except if it’s in a glasshouse. Think of that bunch of bananas. Consider how much energy, resources, and labour was used to pick, ship, and store them all the way from Mexico to New Zealand. Not only is that a financial and environmental cost, but as these bananas aged, their nutritional density and flavour slowly dwindles down. So you’re left with a nutritionally poor, expensive banana.
If we buy seasonally, we are buying produce that is nutritionally dense, cheaper, plentiful and helping the local economy. The earth is also very good at providing us with what we need at that time. Have you ever noticed that lemons and oranges are in abundance when it’s winter and we’re needing that extra boost of vitamin C? Mother nature knows what she’s doing.
Where Can I Buy It?
From farmers markets, roadside stalls, fruit and vegetable shops, and supermarkets, we’re not short of choice in New Zealand. Farmers markets are well known as a great place to get nutritionally dense, organic, fresh produce straight from the farm. However, as more people have started to consider and care about what goes into our produce production, more places have been popping up selling locally grown, spray-free goodness. It may seem like a hassle buying from places other than the supermarket, but it’s a small price to pay to help support local growers. Another great way to support local production is buying roadside or from stalls with honesty boxes, and always check out your local community fruit and vegetable stand too as often produce that is plentiful is put here for others. But, wherever you choose to buy your goods from, keep an eye out for local produce and try to buy goods when they are in season and at their most plentiful.
In-season produce and storage tips
How long your produce lasts and how nutritious it stays is greatly determined by how you store it. The table below is a quick and easy guide for storing summer seasonal produce.
Produce to store at room temperature
- Green beans
- Kumara & potatoes
- Tamarillos (or fridge)
Produce to store on your counter until ripe. Then move into your fridge:
Produce to store in your fridge:
- Blueberries and Blackberries
- Cauliflower and Broccoli
- Dark leafy greens
- Raspberries and Strawberries
- Spring Onion
How to use summer produce
Finding new fun ways to incorporate fresh produce into your diet is a great way to increase variety and get plenty of servings into your diet. A good goal is to try and include 30 different fruit and vegetables into your diet each week. I promise this is easier than it sounds. This increased variety will provide a wider array of nutrients and phytochemicals, and your gut will love you for it. Below is a free eBook with some of my favourite recipes using summer fruit and veg.