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Seasonal food

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:01 pm
by Green Aura
I have to hold my hands up to buying fruit and veg out of season. I'm very strict with some things like asparagus, strawberries and beans but bow to family pressures for other things like tomatoes. I'm totally sure how I've drawn the lines but I'd like to get better at it.

It's not so much that I object to importing produce per se - I understand perfectly that some economies are dependent on exports. So I'm fine with buying bananas and avocados and suchlike. But I'm less keen on buying veg that grows perfectly well here. I also try not to buy things that are grown out of season here - because they don't taste that good as much as any environmental considerations.

Growing your own fruit and veg reinforces the notion of seasonality and we're hoping to expand that as we get more raised beds, dome etc but it occurred to me that there are some fruit and veg, that don't grow here, that I have no idea what the season is.

Anyway, after all that waffling, has anyone any idea what the season is for things like avocados and bananas and other fruit and veg that we couldn't realistically grow here? Or do producers in different countries fill gaps in others' seasons. So is it not a problem? Have I answered my own question? :lol:

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:42 pm
by MKG
I'd just get bananas while you can, GA. Some authorities give them another ten years at most before Black Sigatoka fungus does to the Cavendish banana what Panama disease did to the Gros Michel in the 1950s. Prepare yourself for loads of alternative kinds of banana which don't taste like bananas.

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:31 am
by Marc
I think you have answered your own question :iconbiggrin: - produce is sourced from various places around the world, so different countries are producing at different times of year.
I'll miss bananas if they disappear :( - but does anyone know if organic ones are really that? - I'm always cynical about organic stuff from the supermarkets. Can you trust them?
I also buy as little out-of-season veg as possible, tend to eat mainly whatever I've got in the winter. It's one reason I'd think of moving to a warmer climate - so I could eat my own tomatoes for longer :mrgreen:

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:52 am
by ojay54
I do get this,but I'm not sure I understand why.TBH in the UK(appreciate in tunnels for GA),we can provide ,with a bit of effort,an incredibly varied diet.Add to that,the brilliant taste of so many of homegrown preserves,give me a sundried tomato over some crap from Spain anyday,plus chutneys,pickles etc.

I've grown lemons indoors(and they are worthwhile),but bananas?..Maybe I've lost the plot.

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:04 am
by Millymollymandy
I buy lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers out of season but would never dream of buying certain veg and fruit which I grow and look forward to eating and enjoying just during the season, like strawbs and rasps and French beans. A bit silly maybe but some years I might only have cucs for 6 weeks of the year and I need to eat salad all year long. Plus I wait months for my successional sown lettuce to grow then it all bolts at once! :(

Anyhow in France we don't have out of season fruit and veg from far flung places in quite the same way as in the UK, although it is getting worse here for that. I just bought a load of (French) peaches and nectarines because I know that from 1st September they will all disappear from the shops until about May next year, and grapes will be the next in thing and I much prefer the former! :(

I have no idea when is the season for tropical fruit but the only things I buy that are grown outside of Europe are bananas and limes, although technically some of the bananas may come from France if they come from the DOMs! :wink:

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:59 am
by Green Aura
No, OJ, I wasn't suggesting that I grow my own bananas - and I agree totally that home-grown (as in British Isles as well as in my polytunnel :lol: ) in season is far superior to any out of season imports. I tend to bottle my tomatoes rather than dry them though.

I'm guessing that the Spanish tomatoes I buy in February are just as out of season there as they are here. Unfortunately my Mother likes them and as she's pushing ninety, and crabbit at the best of times, a punnet of cherry toms keeps her happy. :roll:

It was just an idle muse really, I am trying to buy only what I can't grow and in season as far as possible, but had never considered the things I can't grow - bananas and avocados being prime examples.

MMM, I think I'd much prefer the French supermarkets. T*sc* provides everything, all year round. No wonder no-one thinks of season veg any more.

And Marc, I agree about the term organic - it's fairly meaningless these days, I think. But that's a whole other discussion that I'll get told off for starting :lol:

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:18 am
by ojay54
The Spanish toms are out of season,it's just that the climate means that heat/light costs in the GH are far lower,making economic sense to grow them.There's a nursery not far from here where they grow toms 11 months of the year,there seems to be a decent market for them,our local greengrocer can't get enough of them even at £3 or so a pound.

I think what I was trying to say,was that preserving veg/fruit/meat and so on develops lots of different tastes and dishes,and make winter worth looking forward to rather than just enduring...aforesaid S/D toms,preserved artichoke hearts,pickled eggs,potted shrimps etc etc etc mmm ....mmm.

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:22 am
by Green Aura
Absolutely. I don't do sun-dried because of the distinct lack of one of the major requirements. :lol:

But I love any sort of preserves, and I absolutely adore sauerkraut and other lacto-fermented foods. Especially when they're made from my own produce.

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:34 am
by Odsox
Green Aura wrote: I also try not to buy things that are grown out of season here - because they don't taste that good as much as any environmental considerations.

Are you implying that my winter tomatoes are tasteless, or that I should only grow ripe tomatoes between June and November ???? :shock:
Or does that only apply to people gardening the wrong side of the Arctic circle ? :iconbiggrin:

I agree otherwise as we only buy fruit, mainly apples from March to August and they are Irish apples from storage, so does that count as good or bad I wonder.

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:49 am
by Green Aura
Odsox wrote:apples from storage, so does that count as good or bad


I think that depends entirely on the apple and personal taste, Tony. Storage is as good a way of preserving as other methods, unless there's a marked deterioration. I only buy British apples but I can't stand mealy apples - I know Braeburn seem to fall into this category - when the new season ones come they're delicious. But other apples seem to keep really well - I think Cox are better, they don't seem to alter much through the year.

I doubt we'll ever get self-sufficient in apples so I think that's something I'll have to continue buying.

(And I'm sure your toms are lovely :angryfire: ) :lol:

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:58 am
by ojay54
You could be self /suff in apples if only you used cordons....!.work well in tunnels..

Many times,I think,when people have complained about the texture of fruit,they've been picked too early.Interestingly,for me,some apple varieties improve with keeping,eg.Annie Elizabeth.

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:06 am
by Green Aura
I'd be really interested in which improve, OJ. I'd I like to try growing them or at least look for them to buy.

However our polytunnel is tiny - 15'x10' so cordon apples are out, I'm think. We've talked about them for the greenhouse (which will be the full length of the house) but I'm afraid that's probably a few years off yet. There are a lot of other jobs that need doing first. :(

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:34 am
by Odsox
Now you've started something OJ, how on earth does growing in a tunnel stretch the apple season ?
I can see that it would probably ripen early apples a bit earlier, but self sufficient ?

Beauty of Bath used to be the very first to ripen, sometime in July (in Kent), but I don't like the taste or the texture. Our first to ripen here is Discovery that we have been picking for about a month now, and last year we ate the last stored apples on May 7th (Winston).
How do I fill the 3 month gap with home grown apples ?

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:46 am
by Green Aura
I think OJ's polytunnel suggestion is more about protecting the trees rather than extending the season. We can't grow plums here because we always get high winds at the same time as they're in flower. So we're trying to get round that by having the trees in pots and keep them in the PT until late spring. The apples have a similar problem but they seem to be able to cope a bit better, although to be on the safe side we're doing the same with those - and the pears. At least we'll get fit humping all the trees about. :lol:

Our neighbours manage to grow all of these things in their garden, but at the expense of having to have a 6' fence all round.

Have you seen our view?

Re: Seasonal food

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:10 am
by Odsox
Green Aura wrote:Have you seen our view?

Indeed I have, and as it's so nearly identical to mine, MMM accused us of living together. :shock: