The great courgette shortage - why seasonality matters

Sustain was asked by the BBC Breakfast team to comment on the current courgette shortage in the UK. Our food growing guru, Julie Riehl, responded by saying why we should be eating more local, seasonal produce.

Cold and wet weather in Spain combined with a rise of people wanting to eat a Mediterranean diet during the British winter has created a shortage and a sharp rise in the price of courgette and other summer salad items. But should we really be eating courgettes in January?

If you grow food, the idea of getting that type of vegetable at this time of year is strange - courgettes and peppers are completely out of season in Britain in January.

Julie Riehl, Project Officer for London Food Link's Capital Growth network commented, "The Mediterranean vegetables available now are most likely grown in heated greenhouses and transported long distances. This practice is environmentally costly, and the vegetables you’ll get will probably taste bland compared to their seasonal version."  

"This is an important reminder that everything in nature follows a cycle defined by weather and seasons. With the increasing availability of fruit and vegetables out of season in supermarkets (like strawberries in December and courgettes in January), it’s easy to forget what is available and when it is at its best. But everyone needs to get their heads around it. There is plenty of delicious UK grown veg you can eat right now."

And if you need a reminder of what’s in season, check the East Seasonably website. Watch the video to see Julie talking to the BBC.



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