Health Hack #45 - Savor The Seasons
As we’ve alluded to over the course of the past few articles (Finding Compatibility Between Ourselves and Our Food Choices + Stay Clean, But Not Too Clean), when an emphasis is placed upon the journey and integrity of one’s food choices, the notion of eating with the seasons begins to arise intuitively. In search of foods that are harvested thoughtfully (i.e. organic), we look first towards our local purveyors. Why? Cost, freshness, and in support of our local communities. When we opt for the complex and time-laden transit of food products harvested far outside of our area, we do so at the expense of cost, freshness, and local support.
If committing to organic - or even smaller farms employing organic, regenerative practices, who don’t yet and may never possess the infrastructure to acquire a costly organic certification - we often, if only subconsciously, think local. It’s no coincidence that our local grocery stores specializing in organic inventory - from Mom’s Market to Whole Foods to Weavers Way to Kimberton Whole Foods - tout numerous relationships with local farms. Taking it one step further, our farmers markets represent the very height of this connectivity, that which uses our food choices as the tie that binds us to our local farming community.
What is most unique about a farmers market (as opposed to a grocery store) is its inherent limited array of options. One won’t find every cruciferous vegetable under the sun, and this is especially true in our region. Unlike California or Florida, we see wildly fluctuating temperatures throughout the year, with upwards of 100 degrees separating an annual high from an annual low. Only certain foods will thrive at certain points in the year.
|A Dichotomy of Age
There’s an interesting dichotomy at play within these organic and seasonal paradigms. While they form many concentric circles as alluded to above, they’re not as cohesively bound together as one may think, or as we’d argue they should be. Consider the pie chart of organic consumption based on age. The largest piece of the pie? Age range 31-40, clocking 33.8%. Trailing not super far behind at number two is 21-30, at 25.1%. Millennials lead the way here, soaking up more than half of all organic food consumption nationwide. The full remaining split:
21.9% - Age 41-50
12.5% - Age 51-60
6.4% - Over 60
0.3% - 20 and Under
As a millennial myself (loosely defined as falling within the age 22-38 range), it’s quite clear that my generation is most tuned into the organic movement. From an anecdotal perspective, it’s my age demographic that most often questions us on our restaurant’s food origins, and it’s my age range comprising a large percentage of the fellow shoppers at our local grocery stores named above, particularly the smaller ones. However, the skew is different at the local farmers market.
There are admittedly no studies supporting these anecdotal observations, nor are there studies shooting them down, either. Anecdotes as they may be, I’ve observed that the average age of a farmer’s market or roadside farmstand customer is well above my millennial bracket. Despite consuming less than 20% of our nation’s organic produce, adults aged 50 and above are well represented on the market scene, arguably comprising more than 50% of the audience.
What does this all mean? The marriage between the ideals of organic and seasonal? But the divergence of attraction towards one over the other based on age?