Follow the Seasons

Buenos Dias amigos! What’s the deal with eating and shopping both seasonally and locally? I could go on and on about this topic and how important it is for so many reasons but… that may be long and boring and I think I would lose you all fairly early on. So, I’m going to make a little check list. First, I’m going to outline why I believe it is super important to eat with the seasons. Second, what foods are available locally to us and growing right now in October – the best month of the year in my humble opinion.
And finally, I’m going to tell you exactly where to find these foods!
So, without further adieu, let’s go!!

Why the heck should we eat with the seasons?

  1. THE ENVIRONMENT. We are seeing and hearing everywhere that we are in a climate crisis. There are many reasons why and many of those reasons are because of humans. Advancements in technology are fantastic and we have shown that we can do that song and dance pretty well. But at the cost of our environment, our world, and our futures. It is so important to buy local produce and foods. It significantly reduces our carbon footprint. If we source out the vegetables, fruits, grains, and other locally grown products, we are no longer contributing to the whole process of exporting and importing goods from all over the world. Big win for our world! Just think, if we all just started growing and buying what was only available to us, on our land? … That alone would make a huge impact on gas emissions. Also, if you take notice, when you’re shopping locally, there is far less packaging and single use plastics. Also a HUGE win for the environment (and when the environment is winning people, we are! We want to ensure a BRIGHT future for our children…)
    ALSO, as most of our local farmers here are pesticide and spray free – we’re really encouraging a healthier soil and environment by excluding those products.
  2. OUR HEALTH. If we strictly talk nutrients, it’s a no brainer to buy local. I just recently listened to a podcast by Dr. Mark Hyman regarding hyper local farming. Holy smokes, please, if you have time, give it a listen! Anyway, it just reminded me of information I already know – the fresher the vegetable or fruit, the more nutrient packed it is! If you’re buying grapes, watermelon, green beans, etc. from Mexico or even a US state that is close in proximity to us (here on Vancouver Island, BC), by the day, you’re loosing nutrition from that fruit or veg. So wouldn’t it make sense to head on over to your local farm and grab all of the freshest produce the day it’s picked?? Yes, my dietitian hat is on, yes, it does make sense!
    Also, if we’re talking about our health, most of our local farmers here are pesticide free!! Right there is a mega win for our health!
  3. The more we support LOCAL, the better! Simply put: the more of our dollars we give to our local farmers, the more they can continue to grow awesome produce and even better, have the means to grow more and expand in what they’re doing. Also, with supporting local vs big companies, we slowly shut those big corporate companies (super contributors to that carbon footprint and ever rising climate) downnnn.

What’s in season now?
Here’s a list of what we can find locally in the fall months and winter months. Some vegetables growing seasons are longer or shorter so I have outlined exactly what months we can find each fruit or veggie.
This list will be speaking to what I know – southern Vancouver Island. I will create more posts as different seasons come… summer will be a fun one! Don’t get me wrong, fall is fun too! The list of what’s in season can be found here. I just wrote it out so it was straight forward and easy for you to read.

THE List:

  • Apples (July through March)
  • Beans (green beans, we’re seeing the tail end of these guys… May through October)
  • Beets (woohoo!! June through January)
  • Broccoli (June through October. Sadly, we’re seeing the tail end of these as well.. they peter out in October/early November)
  • Brussel Sprouts (September through December)
  • Cabbage (there are many beautiful varieties starting to show up from July through January)
  • Carrots (Michells has the best, sweetest carrots – June through January)
  • Cauliflower (April through December)
  • Celery (May through October)
  • Corn (July through October)
  • Crabapples (August through October)
  • Cranberries (September through October)
  • Cucumbers (April/May through October – you can always find them at Glanford Greenhouse and Sunwing Tomatoes until end of October)
  • Eggplant (August through November)
  • Figs (July through October)
  • Garlic (June through January)
  • Gourds (August through November)
  • Grapes (August through October)
  • Kale (May through February)
  • Kiwi (October through January – kiwi you ask?? Yes, Dans farm has the best kiwi!
  • Leeks (September through March)
  • Lettuce (April through October)
  • Microgreens (year round)
  • Onions (July through January)
  • Parsnips (September through February)
  • Pears (August through October)
  • Peppers (March through October)
  • Potatoes (June through February)
  • Rutabagas (September through February)
  • Salad greens can be found year round if grown in greenhouses!
  • Shallots (September through December)
  • SQUASH (June through January – so many dishes we can make with squash!)
  • Swiss Chard (May through November) * buy this and freeze it!! Great for smoothies!
  • Tomatoes (March through October with the help of some green houses)
  • Turnip (June through January)
  • Zucchini (June through October)
  • ALSO, not listed but can be found at Michells is collard greens or spring greens. Leafy vegetable that kind of tastes like cabbage 🙂

What to do with this information? Follow along! This is all I will be cooking with for the next few months. I will post as many recipes as I can to help inspire you.

I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone, skip Thrifty Foods or Quality Foods or wherever it is you go and hit up a local farm that will mostly offer what they have grown. Sometimes they will bring in some imported produce so read labels and don’t be afraid to ask questions! I LOVE talking to the farmers and learning about their practices, processes, and what they use for growing. The more you learn…

Here is a list of where I shop. I’m also going to link a really great resource that will give you all the farms up and down the island! Not only farms, it will give you nurseries (grow your own food), honey farms, etc. Linked here: Island Farm Fresh.

I’ve got to say… before I start my list. If you go to Oldfield road in Central Saanich (plus a stop at Michells Farm on Island View road) that is all you will ever need for produce. The summer time is when it is bumpin’! Berries galore and more! But just take a cruise down Oldfield. You’ll have it all!

Where Sarah shops:

  • Dans Farm: This farm is open year round. They’re spray free and offer a lot of great produce year round. Watch signs there for what produce is theirs and what they’ve imported. November is when kiwis start (yes!!) and for the little ones, they have a great little area where you can go feed goats, see their MASSIVE bunnies, and say hello to their chickens. October is a lovely time of year where they have a great little pumpkin set up for the kids.
  • Galey Farms: This farm is located on Blenkinsop, fairly close to the Root Cellar (grocery store trying to bring in a lot of local things!) and has some wonderful produce in the summer and fall. They also do an amazing Halloween corn maze, petting zoo, train ride, pumpkin patch extravaganza. Check their website!
  • Glanford Greenhouse: This greenhouse is open from about March through October and offers lettuces, peppers, swiss chard, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, potatoes, beets, the list goes on and on. They’re affordable and the kindest, loveliest people!
  • Guites Farm: Roadside stand on Oldfield road. They have amazing produce and again are the kindest people!
  • Kildara Farms: This little roadside stand actually provides produce to grocery stores like Thrifty Foods and The Market on Yates. They provide apples, strawberries, heirloom tomatoes, and salad greens. They are certified organic and are located in North Saanich. AKA where I will have my dream home one day.
  • Michells Farm: No sprays, no pesticides. This farm is also open year round and they are my absolute favourite! My parents have been shopping here long before I was born. They have the most amazing produce. From summer time when they’re bringing in the best strawberries (June) and raspberries (July) you’ll ever taste to fall when they are stocked with all the cruciferous vegetables you’d ever want. Their produce tastes like none other. GO! Run… run there! Oh, and they are lovely, lovely people!
  • Saanichton Farm: What can you find from these folks? Whole wheat flour, wheat berries, and lentils!
  • Stellar Blueberries: This is summer only folks so I will post more when it’s nearing summer time! But Tom and Veronica here seriously have the BEST blueberries you’ll ever try. Again, anywhere on Oldfield road will have awesome blueberries. Stellar is just where I spend all of my dollar bills.
  • Suntrio Farms: Certified organic. They’re open year round. They grow all the things in their green houses (tomatoes, peppers, herbs, sprouts, wheatgrass, and salad greens) and also grow root vegetables and other veggies in their fields. They also grow figs, strawberries, blueberries, and rhubarb. Find them at markets in the summer, in some grocery stores, or at their retail store!
  • Sunwing Tomatoes: The bomb.com. You will never taste tomatoes or cucumbers or lettuces or basil or, or, or… anything like this! Ok, Patti Vidalin… my mother grows tomatoes and basil and all the things that probably beat these. With that being said, grow your own food! But if you don’t want to right now… go to Sunwing. They are so lovely! They have the most beautiful tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, asparagus, carrots, beets, radishes, lettuces, and herbs! They always bring in local berries and other fruit as the seasons change. They’re open from March until end of October.

Happy shopping you all! Please write me and let me know if you skip the bigger chain super market and try going to a local market. Let me know if you found it challenging and what other information from me would help make this endeavour less difficult or daunting. The thing is – it only gets easier. For me, I just head to Michells or Dans in the winter and I buy literally everything they’ve grown. BAM. That’s what I have to cook with and that’s what my meals are made of. Curries, soups, baked vegetables, casseroles, cabbage rolls, the list goes on and on!

xo Sarah

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