Eating Seasonally

New to Paleo? Try Eating Seasonally to Start.

By Joshua Bird

Paleolithic eating can seem very daunting at first. What, no cereal, bagels, pasta, sandwiches..? What will I eat?  What will my family say?   Now calm down, there are plenty of delicious choices that will not only affect your waistline- but also your bottom line; and get you reconnected with where your food comes from and the people who produce it.

First though, we need to address cooking. Modern life is very hectic, and it takes a bold person to actually slow down and cook food when it’s so easy to order out after a long day,  or there’s a big presentation due, or you just picked up the kids from soccer and it’s 8 o’clock and…feeling stressed out yet?  Thankfully, cooking can be a great way to “stop the madness”.  I was not a good cook. Ask my family about the many dubious attempts I made (including an incident with a crockpot that I won’t discuss here (or ever).  Amazingly though, it just happens that cooking is like anything else;  you stay at it, and eventually, you end up being able to cook!  Now it’s something that I look forward to.  Preparing food slows down my evenings, and generally yields a few meals that I can eat in the coming days. See the resources at the end of the article for some books that will get you from blowing up crockpots, to culinary competency.

Now, in order to become a good cook, one must have good quality tools, meats, produce and fruits and to work with (good red wine helps too).  Sure you can run down to the local chain grocery store and pick up your items, but where are they coming from?  You really have no idea, and most likely they are just buying from the lowest bidder – hardly the method you want your meat/veggies chosen.

Instead, try your local farm or farmers market for fresh seasonal produce, and ethically raised meat. When you choose to do this, you are accomplishing a few great things at once.

  1. Connecting yourself to your food

You- farmer-food.  That’s it. There is no wholesaler, middleman, or anyone in between, that doesn’t care about your health. It’s also a great practice to begin with your children, so they know who and where their food is coming from.

  1. Making what to eat easy.

In grocery stores, we have no seasons anymore.  Produce can be shipped from anywhere in the world, making it constantly available.  It can also mean sub-par quality, and getting locked into a few particular vegetables for the entire year.  By visiting your local farm/farmer’s market you are always getting what’s fresh and in-season, for instance this fall I have been cooking all types of squash, pumpkins, turnips, cauliflower – many of which will keep for winter cooking as well.  Next spring I’ll look forward to broccoli, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes and more.

  1. Better quality food

Like I mentioned earlier, when you buy from your local chain grocery, where is the food coming from?  When you buy locally at the farm/farmer’s market, your food isn’t being subjected to the latest synthetic pesticide that will then find its way into your bloodstream with unknown consequences that we are years from finding out about.  The same is true with meat. When cattle are taken off omega-3 fatty acid rich grass and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on omega-3 poor grain, they begin losing their store of this beneficial fat. Each day that an animal spends in the feedlot, its supply of omega-3s is diminished.[i] The ideal ratio of Omega 6/Omega 3 fatty acids in humans is 2:1, the standard American diet currently has us more in the range of 20:1 – 50:1! The side effects of this are depression, obesity, heart disease, etc.  As you can see the source of the meat we consume can have a huge effect on our health and well being – garbage in, garbage out.  You can ask questions too!  Farmers know what/if any chemicals have been used on their crops, and how their animals are raised – try asking the high school kid stocking produce the same question (seriously, the look of panic is worth it).

  1. Supporting Local Farms

Small family farms are making a comeback because people are sick of the status quo, and you can be a part of their renaissance.  Do you want a huge corporation who is only interested in the bottom line producing your food, or does the small family farm who wants to produce food in a natural, sustainable way sound better?  I thought so.

Ok, so the case has been made, now how do I put it into practice?  Luckily we live in an area that makes this very easy. Here are some resources to get you started

Outfitting Your Kitchen

At the very least you should have these items:

Cast iron skillet(s)
Wooden Spoons, Spatulas
Dutch Oven
Decent set of Knives
Meat Thermometer
Cutting boards (1meat, 1 veggie)
Baking Dishes (glass/metal)
Steamer insert
Blender/Food Processor
Spices (once you start cooking, you tend to acquire these along the way)
Oils (Olive, Sesame, Coconut etc.) Stay away from industrial oils like Canola which exacerbate the Omega6/3 imbalance.

Local Food

Farm Fresh RI –
This is the hub of local eating in our area, with great resources to find local farmers markets in your area – year round!

Eat Wild –
to the above, but more focused on finding high quality local meats.

Cooking that Local Food


The Primal Blueprint Cookbook –
Mark Sisson has produced a gem here; this is my go-to cookbook and it’s always open in my kitchen.  Well worth the purchase.

The Garden of Eating –
Another book that never leaves my side, this is the Macgyver of cookbooks.  It contains hundreds of recipes as well as tons of useful information.


Everyday Paleo –


All of these sites contain a TON or recipes for you to try.

Enjoy! And be sure to share anything you discover on the comment boards!

[i]Duckett, S. K., D. G. Wagner, et al. (1993). “Effects of time on feed on beef nutrient composition.” J Anim Sci 71(8): 2079-88..

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5 Responses to “Eating Seasonally”
  1. Tony

    Thank you, Josh! Eating locally and organically is a primary concern in our home here, as is growing as much of our own food as possible. You haven’t lived until you’ve went into your own backyard and harvested fresh broccoli and carrots for your morning omelette, or cut your own lettuce for your salad at dinner. (Or killed a dozen snails with your bare hands, god bless their tiny slimy souls.) 10 minutes from the dirt to your stomach! Can’t beat it!

  2. tuna

    Another reason why you should support local/small businesses (purely from an economical standpoint).

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  5. 11.03.2012

    There seems to be a lot of hysteria, particularly on facebook, about the food bill, which is not helping anyone. The major concerns there seem to be a fear that the bill leaves much to the actual implementation of the rules. Things that are not specifically excluded are deemed by readers as being included. The fears of the people whose comments I am reading are around New Zealanders suddenly being forbidden to do things we have always done, people who do not view themselves as a small business suddenly being viewed as one by the law and finally the idea of a group of people with a power to legally interfere with the lives of ordinary, non-business’ NZers, because they are falling foul of new laws. Examples might be: is having WWOOFers a small business? is providing food to family, whanau, or friends a small business? is sharemilking a cow (2 or 3 families) a small business? I suspect that most ordinary folk’ are not aware of companies evading rules by giving freebies, and therefore they view rules about barter and giving of food free to be directed at over the fence’ community style sharing. I don’t know how you define a difference that 1.) cannot be subverted 2. is simple and 3. doesn’t rely on differences in implementation, to separate over the fence’ community sharing and sharp business practice.Small businesses are another matter and seem to be able to speak for themselves directly. I am only summarising a large number of (often rather inarticulate) concerns that I observe on facebook.,

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