Fruit & Vegetables
Fresh, organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables have been inclusive in thriving Traditional Cultures across the globe. Fortunately in our modern day world, access to fruits and vegetables is abundant. However, agricultural production also relies on practices that our ancestors may have never used, such as the use of insecticides and fungicides and genetically modified seeds.
Strawberries for your cheesecake, cabbage for the coleslaw? Sure, the supermarket has them on the shelf. But was it always this way? With the year round access to fruit and vegetables the idea of seasonal and locally grown is often lost in translation. Fruits and vegetables are picked weeks or months before they appear on supermarket shelves, sitting in low temperature cold storage to ensure a constant supply all year round and also to ensure they aren’t damaged during transportation. Studies show that produce sitting for long periods of time lose nutritional benefits. When we choose to buy seasonal produce, this means going without at certain times of the year but also having an abundance at other times. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are picked when they are ready and have their full flavours and nutritional qualities in tact. If you can access them from a Farmer’s market you know its local and you are getting something that is almost freshly picked from the tree, full of what nature intended. The biggest rewards of eating this way:
- Produce tastes better
- Produce is often less expensive
- It helps you expand your cooking repertoire and
- It encourages you to get more creative in the kitchen.
Why Choose Organic?
Studies show that organic fruit and vegetables have higher levels of antioxidants compared to their conventionally grown counterparts. Goodness has not been destroyed by chemicals, which are heavily sprayed on conventional produce. Organic food is also usually fresher and more flavoursome as they are picked when ready to eat thereby retaining natural flavour, nutrients and antioxidants. They are free of food chemicals, preservatives, pesticides and fungicides that are heavily sprayed on our conventional supermarket produce.
We understand that buying organic 100% of the time won’t always be within everyone’s budget so when choosing your produce the following Clean Fifteen and Dirty Eighteen (you often hear this as the Dirty Dozen) are a great guide to show which fruits and vegetables are more or less contaminated with chemical residue compared to others.
Please note. Although these are US lists, Australian non-organic farming practices are similar to those in America. The items marked with an asterisk are however, specifically applicable to Australian produce thanks to the list from Northern Naturopathic Healthcare.
|Dirty Eighteen||Clean Fifteen|
Although organic produce is more expensive, remember that you are paying the real cost for producing real food that is better for our health and our environment. The higher costs today can lead to savings on healthcare in the future. Our top tips to help the budget stretch:
1. Buy local and in season when produce is in abundance. You will generally see specials in the supermarket on seasonal produce.
2. Join an organic food co-operative or buy organic food boxes. This means you are often buying direct from the farmer and buying in what’s in season and often in bulk. This greatly reduces the cost. For more information on coops in your local area Jo from Quirky Cooking has some great information. See here. Also if you are in Sydney contact Pinky to find out more about her coop or if you are on the Atherton Tablelands contact Farmer to learn more about hers.
3. Head to the Farmer’s Markets. These are becoming more popular and are a great way to access fresh, seasonal and local produce
4. Grow your own. Even in the city you can produce an abundance of food from a small area of soil. Plant in pots. Growing your own not only gives you the benefit of clean food, but nurturing and producing your own food is most rewarding.