I remember grocery shopping with my mom when I was little, putting my hands on all of the produce as we went. I'd watch her pick up a piece of fruit and either give it a gentle squeeze to test its resistance, or bring it to her nose and inhale. As I followed along, I learned to check for what was "ready" or not, and would passively offer that something was or wasn't "in-season." Do you ever think about where you learned the tiniest, simplest things you do?
As I got older and my nourishment became my own responsibility, I didn't really think much about what was seasonal and just bought what was ready to be eaten. If the flesh gave a little when you pressed it and if it was fragrant. Over the last decade or so, the conversation around seasonality has picked up, going hand in hand with the increased focus on "local" in our food culture. To regard seasonality as just a trend is actually irresponsible of us, as eating in-season isn't just better for our health, it's better for the planet.
Produce that's grown in-season takes less interference from us, humans. When the conditions are right, seeds can do their thing! Which means fewer pesticides and GMO. Here in South Florida, the intelligence of plants is evidenced by mango season. Come Summertime, almost every other tree is dripping with mangoes. No one is spraying them or tending to them, they just grow in incredible abundance in backyards on every street. And they are the most delicious, juiciest mangoes you could get your hands on. Input from humans - not required!
Seasonal also implies local a lot of the time, which means that much less energy goes into the transport of the goods from source, to you. Transporting a Hass avocado grown in California has a much heavier footprint than eating the Florida Avocados that grow alongside the mangoes in the Summer does. Not to mention that the one growing on the tree down the street is pretty cost-effective!
Now, we know that not everyone has fruit trees lining their streets for easy picking, but there are more and more local farm operations, co-ops, CSA programs, and markets where getting your hands on seasonal goods is well within reach. Connect with local vendors and find out what they're growing. It's a great way not only to reduce your carbon footprint but to support your local economy and to try new things you might not normally pick up at the grocery store.
Check out this site to find out specifically what's growing where you live. Plus, here's a favorite recipe from the Sneakz archives for Peach Berry and Vanilla Cream Frozen Pops that makes good use of what's ripe and ready to eat this summer!