The seasons and the way they change impact everything around us, from the leaves on the trees to what we choose to wear. So, when it comes to writing or shopping for a menu, seasonality plays a big part. Here is our insight as to why seasonal ingredients should be the star of the show.
Seasonal foods = go local. Depending on location and climate, seasonal meats, dairy, fruit and vegetables from local farms and suppliers are great additions to the menu. For one, it boosts both the local and your country’s economy, but it also gives your menu that ‘edge’; the ability to tell your customers exactly where each ingredient comes from is quite a gift. There’s something about consuming and enjoying a dish when each component is sourced locally - it’s that ‘farm-to-table’ aesthetic, connecting with your local area and knowing exactly how fresh the menu is. Even better still; grow your own is having a resurgence – a few pots on a balcony space is all it takes. Fresh, sustainable and British produce is what diners want.
Seasonal foods are on the whole less expensive than others as they’re abundant at the right time; reduced carbon footprint and being healthier and fresher are other perks of seasonal produce. For example, try sourcing asparagus of the same quality that it is from May to July, in January. If you can, great - but it will cost a heck of a lot more because there isn’t an abundance of it. Also consider that using out of season ingredients could lead to increased waste, due to not being fresh or staying fresh for as long as when in season. They are more prone to decomposition this way.
SEASONAL MEANS SUSTAINABLE
Payne and Gunter are supported by Climate+Care, allowing us to have a more focussed approach to the minimisation of the environmental impact of our actions and decisions.
In order to change the environmental game, we have put many initiatives in place such as cutting back on plastic straws, sachets and stirrers at events, converting used vegetable oil to biofuel and reducing red meat options on our menus.
However, we also consider the importance of seasonal menus. We will be saying goodbye to any produce coming in on a plane; by the end of this year, our menus will use a minimum of 80% British seasonal fruit and vegetables. Sourcing produce this way, whilst putting other initiatives in place like those mentioned above, will allow us to offset our remaining carbon footprint to support projects such as tackling poverty and promoting energy independence. Read more about our carbon neutral menu planning and sustainability efforts here.
THE SEASONAL FOOD CALENDAR
Take a look at a selection of our seasonal fruit, veg and meat picks for each month:
January: Date, Kale, Venison
February: Lemon, Cauliflower, Coley
March: Bramley apple, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Salmon
April: Grapefruit, White asparagus, Crab
May: Apricot, Chervil, Spring Lamb
June: Blackcurrant, Fennel, Mackerel
July: Strawberry, Asparagus, Halibut
August: Watermelon, Mangetout, Tuna
September: Peach, Sweetcorn, Goose
October: Plum, Turnip, Guinea Fowl
November: Quince, Swede, Duck
December: Cranberry, Pumpkin, Turkey
We have certainly tailored our past menus to the seasonal food calendar; for example, our 2019 spring and summer menu featured many seasonal ingredients to produce dishes such as the Asparagus Ravioli starter, or their contemporary twist the classic Eton Mess dessert, using freeze-dried strawberries.
SEASONAL FOOD AND EATING WELL
It’s worth noting that, in the midst of the current pandemic, the need to build a strong immune system is particularly important. Looking after our bodies and staying fit and healthy is vital every day, yet this is particularly stressed during the current coronavirus outbreak. Now, more than ever, is the time to turn attention to your body; eating well is included in this.
It’s true that you can take supplements such as multivitamins, cod liver oil or Vitamin D to name a few. However, you can up your vitamin intake further through fresh fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants such as Co-enzyme Q10 or Alpha Lipoic Acid are also found in foods such as broccoli, spinach, potatoes and Brussels sprouts, whilst magnesium is found in your greens. So, if this isn’t an excuse to shop local, or start growing your own fruit and vegetables, then we’re unsure as to when would be a good time to start!
It’s important to understand the concept and importance of seasons in the world of food and drink. Society is becoming increasingly more aware on the environment, focusing on health and the effects that their actions have on the world. To responds to this, seasonal eating is becoming much more frequent in the dining world. Who can fault its existence though, with the benefits like those above? If you haven’t already, be sure to embrace seasonal produce into your menu, diet or business.