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Seasonal Produce at a Market

Produce for All Seasons

We say mother always knows best, and Mother Nature is certainly no exception. Buying produce based on its season is not only better for your body and nutritional needs, it has far reaching environmental benefits, is cheaper and tastes better too.

Here are six reasons why you should always keep seasonal cuisine in mind when planning your next party menu.

1. Seasonality for nutrition

Cold and flu season is winter and it’s no coincidence this is also the time when nature produces its best citrus fruits, packed with Vitamin C to aid in preventing infections. Vegetables of the cruciferous family, including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and kale also thrive in colder climates and are packed with vitamins. Hot meals in winter are comforting and warming, just what our bodies crave. Conversely, summer foods such as stone fruits provide us with extra beta-carotenes and other carotenoids that help protect against sun damage, and are sweeter to provide our bodies with more energy.

2. Fresh is best

Purchasing seasonal produce means your fruit and vegetables will be fresher and brighter as well as higher in nutritional value as they are eaten closer to when they are harvested. Produce that is stored for extended periods, or requires long transportation has invariably been exposed to harmful chemicals, gassed, irradiated and often preserved in wax to extend its shelf life. The longer the process from harvest to table, the higher the decline in vitamins, folate, carotens, anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients, meaning your fresh produce isn’t so fresh and healthy.

3. Taste the difference

Produce is seasonal because it is nature’s way of making the fruit and vegetables optimal for consumption. Fruit and vegetables in-season are naturally ripened on the tree or vine and harvested at the optimal time for the produce. This means your food will taste better, bursting with its natural flavour and sweetness. Think of a juicy, sweet winter orange or a vibrant, fleshy summer mango. Out of season produce requires transportation to reach the consumer.

This process means harvesting earlier than is natural and refrigerating the produce during transportation, reducing the flavour. Upon reaching the destination, the goods are often then heated in a hot house to artificially ripen the produce. Not only does this reduce the flavour, it alters the fruits’ and vegetables’ natural texture and taste.

4. Third-World flavours

Countries abroad have different regulations for pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, both in terms of sprays and soil contamination. Many of these ingredients are banned in Australia due to their harmful health effects. If that’s not reason enough to buy local seasonally, much of the overseas produce is irradiated, bleached and sprayed with methyl bromide to enable it to withstand long-haul transportation and Australian quarantine. It wasn’t long ago that Australians suffered from a Hepatitis A outbreak as a result of contaminated frozen Chinese berries, further highlighting that international health practices are not up to Australian standards.

5. Cheaper by the dozen

Seasonality means larger, abundant crops being harvested at once, bringing down the cost of the produce. Think of the cost of a punnet of blueberries in winter as opposed to the warmer weather. Likewise, locally sourced produce minimises travelling expenses and storage costs, further reducing prices.

6. Better for the earth

Eating seasonally reduces the demand for out of season produce and supports local farming, meaning less transportation, refrigeration, and chemical additives.

Menu planning:

Here are some seasonal menu suggestions to get you started when planning your next event…

Raw vegetable salad with red cabbage, carrot, parsley, kale, beets and mustard seed dressing

Baked zucchini and eggplant parmigiana with tomato fondue and basil sauce

Hearty Moroccan lamb soup with split peas and micro parsley

Pan fried snapper, labneh, tomato and coriander salsa and preserved lemon

For more information, see the attached link for a helpful guide to seasonality in Australia’s cities: www.seasonalfoodguide.com

And if you want fresh, seasonal produce at your next function or event, remember to get in touch with our experienced team at Roquette Catering.

Have a safe, happy and healthy Summer!

Before You Go

If you’ve got a large event coming up, feel free to contact us to see how we can help!

Roquette Catering offers delicious and exciting food creations, exceptional service and uncompromising attention to detail.

Drawing on over 12 years of local and International experience, Joshua Luftig and the Roquette Catering team will help you find the perfect venue for your event, be it a wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, social gathering or corporate event.

Give us a call at 03 9939 3323, or head to our contact page to send us a message.

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