Spring with warm temperatures finally makes the plants sprout in the local fields again. The first harvest of fruits and vegetables is already in full swing and waiting to spoil our taste buds. A regional pleasure that is not only healthy, but also environmentally friendly.
Regionalism and seasonality - two buzzwords that stand for climate-friendly nutrition. The production of fruit and vegetables in seasonal open-air cultivation or unheated foil tunnels is significantly more favourable for the climate than cultivation outside the corresponding season in heated greenhouses and foil tunnels. Therefore, in the sense of a seasonal diet, fruit and vegetables should be purchased at the time when they are freshly available. In addition to the significantly more environmentally friendly growing conditions, additional energy expenditure for storage is also avoided.
In terms of regionalism, the transport of food can have great relevance for the climate, depending on the distance and the means of transport used. Air transport has a negative impact on the climate. Compared to transport by ocean-going ships, air transport emits about 200 times more greenhouse gases per ton kilometre. It is important to note that regionalism does not necessarily have to end at the national border. After all, regionalism for fresh or processed products or fruits and vegetables is defined as a radius of about 150 km, independent of national borders.
This contrasts with the aspect of "global nutrition", where food must be transported over long distances. For this purpose, fruits and vegetables often must be harvested unripe to preserve their transportation capability. This not only affects the taste, but also the vitamin and mineral content. The local supply of goods, on the other hand, supplies and strengthens our bodies ideally - local as true superfood.
Each season spoils us with its own fresh delicacies. Cooking seasonally means creating additional taste experiences for yourself. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. that grow outdoors usually develop more flavour than those grown in a greenhouse. And if they are not imported from far away, but harvested at the right point of ripeness, they end up on our plates fresh and crisp and particularly nutritious.
In spring for example, asparagus, strawberries, radishes, lettuce, rhubarb, and wild garlic are harvested in Austria. In summer apricots, cherries, raspberries, currant, tomatoes, zucchini, and green beans. Autumn brings among many others pumpkin, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, pears, grapes and plums. At the end of the year, winter treats us with potatoes, celery, parsnips, beetroot and salsify.
In addition to farmers' markets and other food markets that offer fruit and vegetables from the region, it is worth looking at the food label to track down local foods. In Austria, there is the AMA GENUSS REGION quality seal, which can be used voluntarily for regional foods. In addition, there are uniform EU-wide regulations on the designation of origin for groceries. For fresh fruit and vegetables, the origin must always be indicated.
Regional and seasonal food not only has a positive effect on the climate. By buying regional food, we secure jobs in the local area. In this way, we strengthen and support local businesses. Creating value in our own region should be a fundamental desire for all of us. In addition, variety automatically enters our meal plan by focusing on seasonal vegetables or fruits. In this way, old varieties that have long been forgotten are often rediscovered. Let us take the fresh harvest as an opportunity to taste our way through!