How to Eat Seasonally and Locally in Ireland

Discover the benefits of seasonal and local food shopping in Ireland, including better taste, nutrition, and reduced carbon footprint. Learn what fruits and vegetables are in season with this guide.

Are you tired of the same bland and tasteless fruits and vegetables at your local supermarket? Have you ever considered shopping seasonally and locally? Not only does this mean better tasting and more nutritious produce, but it also reduces your carbon footprint and supports local growers and the economy.

Firstly, why shop seasonally and local when everything I want is always available? We have been spoiled for as long as I have been a shopper, with our supermarkets full of the same produce year-round. Berries in December, you bet. Asparagus in February, of course. Behind the scenes, however, is a whole industry that brings you food from all over the world; after all, everything is in season somewhere in the world, right. But that usually means lots of processing, chemical preservatives, food miles, and packaging.

Eating seasonally and locally has numerous benefits. Firstly, food tastes better, is more nutritious, and has travelled fewer food miles to reach your plate. However, it's interesting that locally grown produce is only sometimes the most environmentally friendly option. Buying something made locally that is out of season can have a higher carbon footprint. This is because the plants are often grown in climate-controlled facilities, which require heating and use more energy than transporting from the other side of the world. So, it's relevant to consider both factors when making your food choices and buy what grows locally.

Moreover, buying local food supports the local economy and Irish growers and promotes food independence. Cooking with in-season and local foods also allows you to explore new recipes. Last but not least, shopping for seasonal food helps us connect with nature and appreciate the origin of our food.

Now, let's look at what's in season in Ireland. During winter, vegetables like Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, and fruits like apples and pears are in season. Spring brings us asparagus, radishes, and strawberries, while summer offers vegetables like courgettes, tomatoes, and peppers. Autumn has vegetables like pumpkins, squash, onions and fruits like apples and pears. See at the end for a more extensive list.

So where can you buy seasonal fruit and vegetables? Your local supermarket is a good place to start if you pay attention to where each product is grown. Still, it will take some work to sift through the various imported items. A good bet is to try a local market or farmers market; often, this produce has just been picked. Similarly, a specialist fruit and vegetable shop if you have one. Finally, many fruit and veg boxes, including all organic ones, are available now. A quick internet search will show you what's available in your area.

Why not try to make your next meal more seasonally inspired! While it's not practical to eat only seasonal foods, making small changes occasionally can be a great way to boost our physical and mental well-being while also helping the planet. Like reducing our carbon footprint or embracing a zero-waste lifestyle, incorporating more seasonal foods into our diet can positively impact our lives and the world.

Winter – 

Veg - Pak Choi, Kale, Celeriac, Beetroot, Mushrooms, Parsnip, Lettuce, Leek, Cauliflower, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Thyme, Parsley, Cabbage

Fruit - Apples

Spring – 

Veg - Mushrooms, Parsnip, Lettuce, Cauliflower, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Thyme, Parsley, Rhubarb, Asparagus, New Potatoes, Pak Choi, Radish, Scallions, Aubergine, Tomato, Cucumber, Peppers, Cabbage, Chives

Fruit - Gooseberries, strawberries

Summer – 

Veg – Mushrooms, Parsnip, Lettuce, Cauliflower, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Thyme, Parsley, Rhubarb, Asparagus, New Potatoes, Pak Choi, Radish, Scallions, Aubergine, Tomato, Cucumber, Peppers, Cabbage, Chives, French Beans, Broad Beans, Blackcurrants, Gooseberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Courgette, Peas, Onion, Celery

Fruit - Blackcurrants, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberry

Autumn - 

Veg - Roaster Potatoes, Pak Choi, Radish, Scallions, Courgettes, Peas, Kale, French Beans, Beetroot, Mushrooms, Tomato, Cucumber, Peppers, Rhubarb, Parsnip, Onion, Lettuce, Leeks, Cauliflower, Celery, Carrot, Cabbage, Brussels Sprout, Broccoli, Strawberry, Raspberry, Thyme, Chives, Parsley

Fruit - Apples, Strawberry, Raspberry

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