With a rich natural larder, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to eating in season in Scotland. Read on to discover what food is in season now.
Seasonal eating involves using ingredients, particularly fruit and veg, that are naturally in season where you live. This can sometimes include meats or fish that are locally found. For example, in Scotland, game is in season during the autumn and winter months.
It’s a great way to keep your plate varied, fresh and tasty all year round. It can even help boost your local economy, protecting the jobs where you live.
Benefits of eating seasonal and local foods
There are lots of benefits to eating seasonally. It could help you enjoy a more varied diet and it’s often said to be better for the environment.
Eating in season in Scotland is also a fantastic way to support your local businesses. It’s a message that’s particularly important as we are all encouraged to think, choose and spend local for all of our needs as part of the Scotland Loves Local campaign.
You can find seasonal fruit and veg at local farmers’ markets, shops and greengrocers.
Plus, eating seasonally and locally is great for getting the freshest and hopefully tastiest ingredients possible.
“Local produce is always going to be the best because you’ll get it as fresh as possible, and things are generally at their best when they’re at their freshest,” says Anna Mitchell, owner of Castleton Farm Shop in Laurencekirk.
The Mitchell family have farmed here since 1992, growing soft fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries and blackberries for supermarkets. In 2008, they opened a farm shop stocked with local produce, artisan produce and a great range of ready meals, which are sold in seven local Scotmid shops.
Anna adds: “It’s not always viable to shop at a local farm shop. But even in a supermarket, take that second to check the packaging to see where the food has come from.”
Picking the options grown closest to you could mean getting produce picked days ago, instead of weeks ago if it’s been flown in from somewhere further afield.
What food is in season in Scotland now?
Ask your local greengrocers, butchers or other suitable shops for advice on eating in season in Scotland if you’re unsure. You may be surprised at what you discover.
“People are very aware of the Scottish strawberry and raspberry season,” explains Anna.
“But blueberries are more of a shock in that they’re grown in Scotland and they’re available just now still.
“It goes back to when people are shopping. Our blueberries can sit side-by-side with blueberries from Peru. You’d only know by taking that second to look at the country of origin.”
So far as Anna knows, Castleton Farm is the most northerly grower of blueberries. While the blueberries season is now coming to an end, you can buy jams and preserves, or make your own, to enjoy Scottish berries all year round.
Explore seasonality calendars to learn more about the food in season in Scotland in November, but it includes:
- Field mushroom
- Wild duck
What is a seasonal calendar and how it can help with mealtime inspiration?
If you’ve long complained about mealtime boredom and trying to choose a meal, eating in season can be a great source of inspiration.
A seasonal food calendar lets you see what’s in season at any time of the year. You can use this knowledge to plan your meals, search online for recipes and try out new foods.
After all, eating more seasonal veg in Scotland doesn’t have to just mean soups. (Although sometimes you can’t beat a good, hot bowl of lentil and veg soup on a cold day, can you?)
Other ideas for seasonal recipes this autumn and winter could include the likes of an autumnal burger with foraged ingredients or a hearty veg casserole.
Why eating in season and shopping locally is the perfect partnership
Phil Prentice is chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), which is spearheading the Scotland Loves Local campaign.
He believes the collective impact of local action will make a significant impact on cutting carbon emissions nationally. The organisation is supporting work to aid the economic recovery of Scotland’s towns and make them more sustainable.
This includes schemes like the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, which encourages people to travel less and prioritise supporting businesses in their area.
Phil said: “We hope that Scotland Loves Local as a whole will lead to more activities such as increased local shopping and markets, more active travel, green infrastructure, a stronger circular economy, reduced waste and reduced emissions.
“On a wider level that fits into broader work that STP is supporting towns and neighbourhoods with. This includes improving biodiversity, encouraging car sharing, local micro-energy generation and storage, better home insulation and the reclamation of vacant and brownfield sites for projects including tree planting, rain gardens and community growing.”
Enjoy eating in season in Scotland – and shopping local as you fill your plate! Find out more about the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card and the importance of thinking local.