Seasonal fruit and vegetables for summer

By Isabel Gladwin

Isabel Gladwin is a former chef working with surplus and waste food organisations around Bristol. In her blog post below, she sets out the arguments for eating seasonally, and what fruit and vegetables are in season over summer.

 Isabel Gladwin

As warm days and balmy breezes welcome summer in, our tastebuds are in for a treat. The plump strawberries and juicy tomatoes on our tables will soon be ripened by the same sun that we are enjoying.

We have come to the end of the “hungry gap” when historically cold stores of fruit and vegetables would have run out and farmers would still be waiting for the summer crops to begin producing in earnest. It would be easy to miss it these days, or in fact to miss the seasons changing at all while perusing the produce aisles.

While we can delight that supermarkets are reducing the plastic they are using to package our fruit and veg – Morrisons have gone all the way in 12% of their stores and M&S is trialling their scheme – the ever abundant selection of produce we are offered is the next topic to trouble those who shop with sustainability in mind. Imported products are taken for granted, until you get in the habit of reading the labels and realising the far-flung origins of your shopping basket.

There are many arguments for eating seasonally, that is buying food that is ready for harvest around you.

Top of the list tends to be the argument against the carbon footprint of imported fruit and veg, but this has been shown to be much less straight forward than you may expect with the shocking example that by driving 6.5 miles to buy your green beans you would emit more carbon than flying them in from Kenya.

The next factor to consider is taste. Picked before they’re ripe to allow them to survive the journey and arrive looking beautiful, the experience of eating a pale, imported tomato in winter can’t compare to the lively explosion of summer flavour. The anticipation of your favourite fruit being ready at the pick-your-own and the beauty of a strawberry eaten in the sun brings so much more pleasure than a tart winter fruit salad.

Produce in season will also bring joy to your pocket, with costs lowering when there is a glut of a product. Another financial consideration is where your hard-earned cash is going. In Bristol we are fortunate to have markets, greengrocers and box schemes supplied by nearby farms, so if you are able to use those resources you will be contributing to supporting the local economy.

The upshot of this is that if we are conscious when shopping of what produce is in season we will gain the pleasure of better tasting, cheaper food, and a diet that changes naturally throughout the year, bringing variety and excitement.

Here’s are some recipe ideas and a list of the fruit and vegetables are in season over summer (June – August):

  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce and Salad Leaves
  • Rocket
  • Spinach
  • Watercress
  • Samphire
  • Pak choi
  • Spring onions
  • Asparagus
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Fennel
  • Globe artichokes
  • Courgette
  • Aubergine
  • Broad beans
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • New potatoes

Join the conversation

So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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