Local, organic vegetables will reflect the growing seasons which are often overlooked now we import so much food.
Root vegetables are perfect for warming winter ‘comfort food’, such as stews and chunky soups. Try celeriac, parsnips, turnips and swede. If you can ignore the food miles, citrus fruits are available. January is the traditional month to make your own marmalade and organic fruit won’t contain pesticides in the rind or be waxed.
Eat your greens! Cabbage, chicory, leeks and spring greens are plentiful and will give you nutrients to help protect against colds. Rhubarb is available now – great for crumbles, jams, fools and puddings.
Protect the more delicate of your seedlings inside – Argos have a great range of build-it-yourself log cabins which are perfect for storing less-than-hardy plants.
March can be a difficult month to find home-grown organic vegetables, as winter produce is finishing but it is too early for spring harvests. Forward planning by freezing your own organic vegetables can help out. Rocket, kale and spinach may also be available, if the winter weather has been kind.
The first spring vegetables will be appearing: aubergines, broccoli, celery, courgettes and tomatoes. The end of the month usually sees the start of the (brief) English asparagus season.
New vegetables crops will be available, such as beetroot, broad beans, fennel and lettuce. New potatoes are tender and sweet, boiled in their skins with a sprig of mint.
An abundant month for fresh organic fruit and veg. Summer salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and herbs make tasty salads, especially if you’ve grown them yourself. Soft fruit like strawberries, gooseberries, cherries and raspberries are ripe.
A glut of over-ripe berry fruit can be used to make preserves or to flavour vodka and gin. Apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums are also delicious and in season.
Peppers are plentiful, and the colours are great in salads to tempt kids. Try them on the barbeque too, or roasted in the oven. Marrows are beginning to appear in shops now; great for stuffing with chilli mince or ratatouille.
This is the best month for the organic shopper as there is plenty of choice of fruit and vegetables on offer. As well as salads, there are autumnal crops such as sweetcorn, squashes and pumpkins. The first root vegetables are being harvested too; potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions and potatoes. Autumn fruits such as plums and damsons are ripe. You could even pick your own blackberries and sloes from country hedgerows, away from traffic pollution. This is the time of year to plan ahead for the lean winter months by storing, preserving and freezing.
Autumnal vegetables to choose from include red cabbage, leeks, aubergines, fennel and swede. Hazelnuts (cobnuts) and sweet chestnuts are ready to be gathered from the wild. Pumpkins will still be available for Hallowe’en.
Savoy cabbages and purple-sprouting broccoli are ready; great comfort food with mashed potato and celeriac when the nights are drawing in.
A bleak, cold month but the focus is often on Christmas festivities – especially the feasting. Order your organic turkey early and don’t forget the Brussels sprouts! You can also buy organic wines, beer, cider, spirits and liqueurs online – great for celebrating and for presents.