Eating in Season

Consuming different produce at different times of the year, when it grows naturally, brings us closer to our local environment.

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Food miles are not determined by how far you drive to get your food; instead, they are the energy and effort required to bring everything you eat to your door.


A diet that consists of food produced within a 100 mile radius of one’s residence, which reduces their carbon imprint and encourages less processed foods due to lack of availability in many towns.


The art of finding and enjoying wild food.


Fruit and vegetables that are overlooked, either after they’ve fallen to the ground or while they’re still on the tree. Such fallen foods can be harvested, gleaned, or just observed.
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What’s in a Number?

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Link: How the press got the idea that food travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate.

Jane-Black-thumbnailJane Black is a New York-based food writer who covers food politics, trends and sustainability issues. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times and Slate.

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Eating in Season

By Kathy McFarland—Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company

german pink tomatoBack in days of old when mass transportation was non­-existent or minimal, consumers had no choice but to eat whatever was growing around them at any given time. Then along came modes of transportation that allowed foods to be shipped across the country and around the world in a relatively short period of time. Fruits and vegetables grown in warm climates could be transported to colder climates where it was impossible or impractical to grow food at that time. It became commonplace to shop at a supermarket and take home unlimited varieties of produce at any given time of the year in any given location.

Though just how fresh can food be if it has spent days traveling around the world before reaching the supermarket, and then the dinner table? Surely the food had to be harvested before its prime maturation in order to allow shipping time without spoilage. Fruit and vegetable producers had to begin searching for and developing varieties that held up well in transport but that might be lacking in flavor and nutrition. Anyone who has ever tasted a tomato fresh from the garden knows that the flavor of a supermarket tomato simply does not compare to the flavor of a freshly picked one.

Progress sometimes leads full circle. That appears to be the case in eating local foods in season. Many people are now turning to foods grown locally, which means that they eat what is in season at the time. Many people are giving up the new hybrid plant varieties and going back to the old heirloom plants their ancestors grew to produce tasty and nutritious foods.

eggplantWe encourage everyone to focus on eating what is in season at any given time in their part of the world. Here on the Baker Creek farm, we have a farm-to-table restaurant as part of our Bakersville Pioneer Village. We strive to serve food that is available freshly in season, with much of it grown in the many gardens on the farm. Food from our own gardens is supplemented with vegetables, fruits and berries purchased from the local Amish produce auction. Our restaurant menu changes daily depending upon what is available from the local farms on any given day. When eating in season, at farm to table restaurants like ours, or at your dinner table at home, the quality of flavor and nutrition will surpass food that has traveled many miles to get to you.


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FILM SYNOPSIS As consumers take increased responsibility for what they eat, many choose to become “locavores,” favoring foods grown or produced in their communities. By voting “local” with their pocketbooks when they go to the supermarket, these consumers keep money in local economies while supporting and strengthening local food systems. They also decrease their “food miles” and with it their carbon footprint—of critical importance in confronting the challenge of climate change.
FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE Jessica Prentice a chef and co-owner of Three Stone Hearth A chef and author who coined the term “locavore” to describe people like herself who lived primarily on food produced locally.


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Jessica Prentice of Three Stone Hearth

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Information Artwork Text

Title: Eating In Season
Location: San Francisco, CA
Featuring: Iso Rabins of Forage SF
Image Credit: Douglas Gayeton for the Lexicon of Sustainability
Found on Page 37 of LOCAL: The New Face of Food & Farming in America

Wild edibles grow everywhere. You need to be aware of what’s around you. When you spend time outside, you see how things change throughout the year.

Miner’s Lettuce has a really great citrus accent, which makes it perfect for salads (add champagne vinaigrette) or with roasted beets. The earthiness of the beets accents the greens very well.

What Iso forages for in the city: Radish greens + flowers, fennel, nasturtium, nettles, miners lettuce, mushrooms (porcini, shaggy mane), and snails.

Crossing the Bay in any one direction leads to: seaweed, wild mussels, clams, fennel, mushrooms, nettles, acorns and fruit

ISO RABINS EXPLAINS THAT A FORAGER SEES FOOD EVERYWHERE. It’s at the park where you walk, in the pond you sit next to, in the trees you walk by, even in your backyard (you just don’t know it). What matters most is being aware. It’s how to discover your own foraging spots (because Iso won’t share his), and besides, half the fun of foraging is the search. Iso’s favorite is a rarely used city park. Most people have never heard of it, even though it’s in the heart of the city.


Information Artwork Text

Title: Food Miles
Location: Escalan, CA
Featuring: John Lagier of Lagier Ranches
Image Credit: Douglas Gayeton for the Lexicon of Sustainability
Found on Page 19 of LOCAL: The New Face of Food & Farming in America

FOOD MILES  is the distance food travels from the field to your table.

THE 100 MILE DIET is a common unit of measure used to denote the maximum distance food can travel and still remain local to the consumer.

LOCAL FOODSHED is a geographic area where food is grown and consumed; it also accounts for population density, land quality, and available distribution routes.

JOHN LAGIER GROWS CITRUS, CHERRIES, BLACKBERRIES AND MORE FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA FOODSHED. The artist, Douglas Gayeton, asks John why people should be so concerned with eating locally and John says, “Buying directly from the producer reduces the energy costs which result from transporting food great distance plus, it’s great to have a relationship with the people who grow your food while also contributing to the sustained health of your local economy.” (He also says the food has a fresher taste.)

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Title: Foraging Circuit
Location: Vancouver, BC
Featuring: Forager Tyler Grey of Mikuni Wild Harvest
Image Credit: Douglas Gayeton for the Lexicon of Sustainability

“Professional foragers travel between the Yukon, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and California. Foraging is fun, adventures, healthy, rewarding and romantic it’s an activity that connects you viscerally to nature, it requires respect yet imports knowledge”

Foraging Tips
1. Bring a friend or be sure to tell someone where you’re going.
2. When in an unfamiliar area bring extra supplies (compass, matches, and a knife).
3. Always pay attention to visual landmarks; they can help you find your way out of the forest if you get disoriented.
4. Novice foragers should NEVER eat anything they’ve foraged until its species has been confirmed by someone with experience.

As a soft rain falls, Tyler and I go looking for mushrooms. He knows the terrain well and always returns to the same places in this forest. He never shares with other foragers but often shows friends: sharing knowledge is more important then secret spots because he can always find new ones. I have no ideas where we are (though I do hear golfers talking on a fairway somewhere beyond the treeline).

A PROFESSIONAL FORAGER WORKS YEAR ROUND and often travels to Terrace B.C in September to forage Mushrooms (Matsutakes, Lobster, Cauliflower Porcini) then head south to Nakusp or Boston Bar or Vancouver Island to forage Matsutake or Chanterelle, depending on spot pricing. In the winter they hit places like Cresent Lake, Cave Junction or Willits to forage Matsutake Mushrooms, Porcini, Black Trumpet, Hedge Hog or White & Black Truffles. This continues until spring, when foraging for Orchard Morels briefly appear. Afterward foragers head north to pick springtime vegetables: wood sorrel, fiddleheads, miners lettuce, stinging nettle. During the summer they trail forest fires to pick Morels, ending with late summer mountain huckleberries in Montana.


Information Artwork Text

Title: Fallen Fruit
Location: Sunset Junction Back Alley, Los Angles, CA
Featuring: Forager Austin Young and David Burns of Fallen Fruit Collective
Image Credit: Douglas Gayeton for the Lexicon of Sustainability
Found on Page 36 of LOCAL: The New Face of Food & Farming in America

People search their cities and neighborhoods for unused or unwanted things: litter, refuse … even food. Fallen fruit is often overlooked (either after it’s fallen to the ground or while still on the tree). It can be harvested, gleaned, or just observed.

The Fallen Fruit Collective started when 3 artists (David Burns, Austin Young and Matias Viegener) began examining the space between houses in their Los Angeles neighborhood. They quickly discovered over 100 fruit trees in a five-city block area offering organic public fruit year-round. They mapped this resource and shared it with others.

“Urban Foraging is a treasure hunt” says Austin who is wearing a shirt that shows a Copenhagen neighborhood mapped by Fallen Fruit.

1. Find a neighborhood with lots of fruit growing in or over public space
2. Trace an outline of the streets and place little symbols for the fruit trees
3. Share with your friends (NOTE: these maps should be suggestive and playful, not overly precise, and used to encourage people to explore their own neighborhoods.)

PEOPLE RARELY EAT THE FRUIT GROWING IN THEIR OWN GARDENS. They simply assume it’s not as good somehow as fruit from the market. That two block journey they take by car to their local grocery store further reinforces that disconnect. Los Angeles is a car culture – everything is seen through windshields … against the soundtrack of cell phone conversations. Part of these artists’ mission is to get people to look at things they sometimes don’t see. People often stop to talk to them when they pick. One girl told them she didn’t eat bananas because she thought you were supposed to eat the banana peel, which she hated. It wasn’t until she tried one on an LA sidewalk that she changed her mind.


Find fun facts and quotations in our interviews with Lexicon thought leaders. And link back to the Lexicon so we can share your article!

Stephen Decater of Live Power Community Farm

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Eating in Season: Flavor Packed Food Close to Home

By Tucker Taylor

Eating in season is one of the most basic, most powerful things we can do. Why do we want to eat an heirloom tomato in February when we know what that tomato tastes like in July? Being aware of the food miles our food travels makes a huge impact on our enjoyment of it. Imagine that same fresh-picked tomato direct from a local farm or your home garden, sun ripened in September. It’s packed with nutrients and flavor. When we purchase tomatoes from the store, on the other hand, we don’t realize they’ve been picked green, shipped hundreds or thousands of miles and ripened in transit. These tomatoes taste nothing like summer. The very anticipation of the bounty of the season to come heightens our experience of the food we enjoy.

Tucker TaylorTucker Taylor is an expert in certified organic farming, specialty produce, and sustainability. Taylor strongly believes in soil cultivation—with a healthy dose of compost—as the key to a good harvest. He is now the first Director of Culinary Gardens for Jackson Family Wines, where he spearheads the cultivation of all the company’s gardens globally. Prior to joining the Kendall Jackson family, Tucker oversaw landscaping at every property of the world-renowned chef Thomas Keller’s restaurants (French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon, Ad Hoc), setting the standard for today’s farm-to-table fine dining. Follow him on Instagram @farmert.
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