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Seasons change, and so should the fruits and veggies you put onto your plate, says Chef James Diack, one of South Africa’s pioneers of provenance. Over the last two years, James has worked exceptionally hard to become the go-to person for eating seasonally and knowing the source of the food that hits your plate. James’ restaurants (Coobs, The National and The Federal) have evolved to such an extent, that now 95% of everything on his menus comes off his family’s farm, Brightside, in the Magaliesburg.
“Seasonality and sustainability are all about protection - protection of the environment, protection of our health and not least of all protection of animal health,” James says. He has taken the concept of seasonality even further by producing a Seasonality Calendar for South Africans as a guide on what to eat each season.
Other benefits of eating fresh foods that are in season is that they are at their optimal flavour because they have been allowed to fully ripen in the sun rather than sitting in cold storage for months where they have been loaded with preservatives. This also affects their nutritional value. When a plant has more sun exposure it also has more antioxidants. If that doesn’t convince you – think about your wallet. Paying a premium for tomatoes or avos out of season can add up!
MindBodyGreen says the natural cycle of produce is also perfectly designed to support our health. “Apples grow in autumn and they are the perfect transition food helping the body get rid of excess heat and cool down before winter. In the spring the abundance of leafy greens help us alkalize, detox and lose some extra kilograms after a long winter of heavier foods. In the summer we need to cool down and stay hydrated by eating more fruits, berries, cucumber, watermelon etc. Building a lifestyle around seasonal food facilitates the body’s natural healing process.”
You can download the seasonality calendar from here.