21 Apr 2015

Seasonal shopping: smarter and savvier

1:56 pm on 21 April 2015

Seasonal shopping for fruit and vegetables - do you do it?

Horticulture New Zealand says buying produce in season is shopping smarter and a money saver, which it says is backed up by figures from Statistics New Zealand.

Vegetable grower Tommy Young based in Levin.

Vegetable grower Tommy Young based in Levin. Photo: RNZ / Jemma Brackebush

President Julian Raine said although something may be available all year round, there are certainly times when it's likely to be cheaper because it can be sourced locally.

The price of strawberries, for example, double to almost $30 a kilo in July, compared to just $13 in November.

Mr Raine said many people say they buy in season, but they are not really sure when that is.

I went down to this week's produce market on Wellington's waterfront to see if that's the case.

Donella Bellett was shopping with her two children and said they were there to buy in season.

"The kids just said to me, 'how do you know what to buy?' and we're looking for what looks cheap and what is seasonal.

"We've noticed feijoas are pretty good at the moment, golden kiwifruit are just coming in, you can see it change as you come week to week."

"It's something you know if you cook and if you grow, so at the moment they've got winter veges, cabbages and cauliflowers. Tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes are still there but not so good," she said.

Wellington Sunday vegetable market.

Wellington Sunday vegetable market. Photo: RNZ / Jemma Brackebush

Shopper Gareth Phipps said he did not pay attention to what was in season.

"Come here and whatever catches your eye really - we tend to shop according to what meals we are doing during the week."

University students and flatmates Holly Walker and Hannah Jensen said they were at the market most weekends because it's cheap, but they have learnt from their parents as to what seasonal shopping is.

"I'm from a farm so I grew up with vege gardens, my dad made a paddock-size one, and there was all corn and lettuces," Ms Jensen said.

"I didn't grow up on a farm, but my mum was really good at preserving. She had a really strict budget, but she could always buy to it and feed us really well, so I kind of picked up on that," Ms Walker said.

Diana Clear said she had her own vegetable garden which helped her know what is grown when, but it was also about common sense.

"If you see nectarines on sale in winter, you realise they're not from NZ - they're from America. You can work out what's in season and what's not, if it's appearing in the middle of winter and it's a summer fruit."

Tommy Young is a vegetable grower based in Levin. He crops about 48 hectares and was selling his produce at the markets on Sunday.

"All the brassicas are in season: cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli. Potatoes are in, onions are in and so are pumpkin."

He said that a few months ago, prices were higher because of the drought, but they have since come down.

"A few months ago we were really short, things were hard to grow, so therefore the prices were dearer but now we've had heaps of rain, things grow normally and we get heaps of supply," he said.

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