First feature of the series - Cecily from 'The Simplify Resolution'

A couple of weeks back, I started a new series on my social media channels about eating seasonal and local produce. So, the idea is I will share the produce that’s best in season for the month, share about my local grocers and how I use that produce. I also encouraged my friends and followers to participate and share their produce and their finds from their local area and so far, I have had people participating from Australia, Canada and Africa. I am so chuffed by how so many people are practising this concept of eating seasonal and local that I can’t wait to share their stories with you!

Another important reason why I started this series, was to make myself aware of the different produce available around the world. I have been living internationally for about 7 years now and when I first moved to the UK, the produce was very different from my home town in India. There were two options in front of me, either I buy imported produce from Indian grocers and increase my carbon footprint or take the challenge to learn and try the available seasonal produce where I was living. I went with the latter and that opened up a completely new world to me. From rhubarb to wild garlic, asparagus, artichokes, damsons, greengages, wild strawberries, leeks, butternut squash and the list goes on. Wow, so many vegetables that were completely new to me were added to my repertoire simply because I took the challenge of trying new things. One thing that has always stuck with me until today is the keenness to try new things and believe me, that helped me in this new quest.

So, the main highlight of today’s blog is my first feature in this series. Every Friday on my social channels, I also decided to feature an account and to start with it, today I am featuring Cecily who shares her love for seasonal and local produce at ‘The Simplify Resolution’ on Instagram. She was the first one to share her market finds in my series and I was really happy that she found my series worth her time, really thankful to her! Going further with the feature, I was curious to know more about her and how she started practising seasonality.

  •   A little about her –

Cecily lives in the Hunter Valley in Australia with her family. Although they grow their own fruit and veg, they also buy fresh and seasonal produce directly from the farmers. Hunter valley is north of Sydney in New South Wales and it is Australia’s oldest wine region. She joined the executive committee of Slow Food Hunter Valley this year to further her support to the local producers and create awareness about the availability of fresh produce. She also manages their social media pages.

  • Why she supports seasonal and local?

Cecily says, ‘Sustainability and caring for our environment is very important to us and we do our best to buy less and second hand goods, reuse, and recycle wherever possible’. For her, it is very important to buy seasonal and local for various reasons like it helps reduce food miles thereby helping our environment and also you get to eat fresh and healthy. Not to mention, doing your shopping from local producers helps building up the small businesses thereby contributing to the economy. She considers herself quite lucky because of the region she lives in and calls it ‘Food bowl’ but also acknowledges that situations are not the same everywhere.

  • How long has she been buying locally?

She has been buying directly from the local farmers for nearly two years and before that she regularly used to go to the farmers markets and was also a part of fresh produce co-op for a good few years.

This organisation runs a wonderful ‘Earth Market’ twice a month in Maitland (a city in the Lower Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia) where farmers can sell directly to the consumers. The produce is often picked the very same day and you also get a chance to speak to the producers directly. The organisation is dedicated towards promoting ‘Good, Clean and Fair Food for all’. They also run a number of events like community kitchen for turning discarded produce into delicious meals for disadvantaged members of the community, a school kitchen garden and many more fresh food related community events. You can find all the information and latest events on their website. For more details, please visit their website or social media pages below:

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  • Favourite seasonal produce in June and how she uses it?

Cecily’s favourite produce for June is ‘Pumpkins’. Let me tell you, Australia’s season cycle is completely different from ours in the northern hemisphere. She grows a hybrid variety, a cross between Butternut and Kent pumpkins. She says it’s the best pumpkin she has ever tasted, it has the sweetness of Butternut and full flavour of Kent. From soups to breads, dips, classic roasted, stuffed and even spaghetti Bolognese, its in everything! She grew 46 pumpkins this year, wow that’s a bounty! As a grower herself, her tip is to buy them when they are in season as they are full of flavour and you can also store them for months.

Thank you Cecily for taking time out and sharing your story! I hope you will continue educating us all about the local and seasonal produce that your region has to offer.

If you would like to be featured, show me your seasonal produce, where you buy it from and how you use it. Whether you are on Facebook or Instagram, just tag me @simpleandsustainable and use the hashtag #letseatseasonalandlocal. I am keen to hear your stories and lets encourage everyone to support buying locally and seasonally!