Organic. Plant-based. And now we have to keep track of even more? Well, pardon, this is a suggestion, not an obligation, but yes. It’s worth it, these are high stakes (only Mother Earth), and the cleanliness of eating local, seasonal food is arguably even more impactful than some of the other stuff we try to do. The least we can do is try and make it easier for you. Here’s a few simple tips on just another way to lower your ecological footprint.
It’s all about lessening the energy it costs for your ingredients to arrive in your hands, ready to eat. The closer the land your food is sourced from, the less traveling it needed to do to get here. And when it’s in season, there has been less artificiality involved for it to ripen, through chemicals or expensively lit and heated green houses. Foods become more nutrient dense naturally. And more often than not, it's better for your wallet too.
This does require some research. You need to know what you know. Bananas for example, do come from afar, but are a better option because they have a naturally solid peel, so don't need a lot of packaging, are grown under natural light, and come by boat, which per kg emit about 1% of the gasses airplanes would. Here's how to divide the space on your plate without it becoming to much of a hassle.
Milieu Centraal is a great source of what fruits and veggies are in season. Here you can look up per individual product how good or bad it is for the environment, and here you can find an overview of what is in season right now. You can download it as a PDF, or download their free app. Velt is another website that offers a yearly inventory of your seasonal fruits and veggies.
Another App is the one by Puur Dichtbij, to be downloaded here. Here you can find and order 'streek producten' from local farmers throughout the Netherlands. When shopping, you can usually recognize locality when it's there. Small shops often have it going on a bit more than the bigger chains.
Try and go all aboard with seasonal + local? Charming, you'll see:
- One easy trick is to simply buy your food at good old markets. Venders are generally much more involved in the production than supermarkets are, so will be eager (dying) to tell you about their best seasonal and local products. Our favourite organic farmers markets are at the Noordermarkt (Jordaan, Saturdays 9:00-16:00), Zuidermarkt (Zuid, Saturdays 9:30-17:00) and Haarlemmerplein (Wednesdays 10:00-17:00).
- Another romantic manner is to harvest your own at a local Pluktuin (picking garden). You find one open all year round right here.
- Don't forget the surprising possibility and general nice-ness of growing your own. Nothing more local than plucking from your own pots. On this website you will find a lot of info on how to do so.
We can't stay out of this. Of course we love and adore our lush exotic ingredients (nothing quite like a fresh coconut on a Sunday morning), but it's good to balance out the geographics. You're best choices will be:
- THE FIX
kale, cucumber, romaine, celery, ginger, spinach, parsley, lemon
- THE PRO
- THE PICK-ME-UP
apple, mint, lime
- THE IRON MAN
carrot, beetroot, turmeric, lemon
- THE BEDROCK
carrot, orange, sweet potato, cucumber, red bell pepper, ginger
- THE WHEATGRASS SHOT
HOW TO APPLY
Before you become obsessed, we like to take the rule of thumb we use for any health and environment tool: the 80/20. When you are really trying to make a change, roughly 80% of what you consume can be organic, plant-based, and now also local and/or seasonal, but don't forget to leave the other 20% out to let loose a little. Nothing in excess. Het moet wel leuk blijven!