Our lives, routines, and feelings of wellness tend to fluctuate with the seasons. As the southern hemisphere reaches out towards the sun - Our days in turn, grow shorter. The intensity of sunlight reaching us weakens, and as many other animals begin preparing themselves to undergo hibernation & migration by stockpiling calories. It's in our best interest to stockpile the nutrients and vitamins that we will naturally begin to see less of over the coming autumnal and winter months.

'A recent study by BetterYou found that 19 per cent of British adults have low levels of vitamin D, and this is particularly problematic in autumn and winter. “Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is key for the maintenance of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus,” nutritionist and author of Re-nourish, Rhiannon Lambert, explained to The Independent. “It also helps absorb calcium which plays a vital role in forming and maintaining strong bones.” - Rachel Hosie


During September and October, try to spend 5-15 minutes outside in the sunlight each day, whilst the sun is at its highest ( between 11a.m - 3p.m ) This will help your body to store vitamin D.


You can also try to eat foods rich in Vitamin D; eggs, milk and ricotta cheese (which has five times more vitamin D than any other) are all rich sources. Mushrooms are a great plant based source of many nutrients, shiitake mushrooms for example contain a good amount of iron, vitamin B complex, and vitamin D, whilst chanterelles are highly sought after and justifiably so with by far the highest natural levels of vitamin D content found in edible British flora. All mushrooms contain a 'pro-vitamin' or precursor, called Ergosterol that is converted into vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Much like the way in which our skin synthesises vitamin D in response to sun exposure. Foraged, wild mushrooms have the added benefit of long durations of exposure to sunlight - where farmed may have been grown under artificial lighting and therefore contain a lower concentration of vitamin D content.


Autumn is a wonderful time for foraging in the UK, whilst our hedgerows are fruitful and abundant. Foraging has proven good for us on many levels, by reconnecting us to nature it facilitates improved mental and physical health, provides a sustainable food source, and of course provides it for free! Ethnobotanical researcher, forager and wild food educator Robin Harford suggest that you can greatly expand your plant-based diet because nature offers much more variety than supermarkets, having recorded at least 700 edible wild plants in the UK (Brits typically consume no more than 30 domestically farmed ones). Find Robin's generously shared recipes, tips and free guides to foraging here: www.eatweeds.co.uk



Photography courtesy of Irina Kostenich



Top foraging picks for Autumn:


Mushrooms; Chanterelles, Ceps, Cauliflower fungus, common morels & giant puffballs - Are all native and a deliciously edible source of vitamin D. (A brief mushroom guide here)


Dock leaves - Picked when young dock leaves are an excellent source of both vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as a source of iron and potassium. But be warned, they're can become extremely bitter as the plant matures.


Blackberries - full of vitamins and minerals C, K, and manganese, high in fibre and are considered a brain boosting health food.


Elderflower - The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine suggests that triterpenes might be the active ingredients in elderflowers, although they also contain flavonoids and phenolic acids. Additional potentially beneficial components include small amounts of minerals, sterols, mucilage, pectin, protein, linoleic acid and volatile oils. Whilst not clinically proven, elderflower has historically been used for it's medicinal healing properties and pungent floral flavour.


Rosehips - The red fruit of the rose plant, is full of antioxidants and vitamin C. Add them to a cup of tea, turn them into jam or marmalade.




A little reminder that as plants begin preparing themselves to be dormant over the winter months... Fermenting vegetables & stewing fruits can help us to harness and prolong the effects of the vitamin rich produce that we find in abundance as we transition from late summer into autumn.



Here are some of our favourite seasonal recipes and learning resources:


Elderflower cordial - Click here

Plums and preserves - Click here

Elderflower and pistachio cake - Click here

Blackberry, apple and maple crumble - Click here

Seaweed sauerkraut - Click here

Wild garlic kimchee - Click here

Sautéed wild mushrooms - Click here

Nettle and barley risotto - Click here




With the delights of spring looming, the earth’s vitality is becoming more and more apparent. Beautiful blooming flowers are beginning to poke through the crisp snow, and fresh green produce is in abundance and at our fingertips, calling us to rejuvenate, regenerate, and to lift our spirits out of the darkness of winter.


During early spring there's a vast range of nutrient rich vegetables and fruits growing both wild and in our local farms and orchards. Enjoy them in abundance over the coming months, and try to look after your future self by preserving them - in anticipation for the colder months later in the year. Don't forget that wild food is growing all around us, in our hedgerows, fields, alongside river banks and our very much overlooked seashores. Why not take pleasure in spending some time in the crisp sunlight of spring, soaking up some vitamin D and finding some of your food for free?


Handy books to get you out foraging and preserving:



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Eating with the season...


- Asparagus: Low in fat and high in fibre, these tender green stalks are a great source of iron, vitamins B, K & C. Eating asparagus also promotes healthy bacteria in the large intestine and can help reduce bloating. Asparagus are at their best in the UK for eight weeks, from April until June.


- Purple sprouting broccoli: A cruciferous vegetable, regarded to harbour a number of important health benefits. Purple sprouting broccoli contains the phytochemical 'sulphoraphane' (thought to help prevent cancer cells from developing) and may provide resistance against heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. It is packed with vitamin C, iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre and vitamin A. Purple broccoli is in season in the UK between March and May.


- Spinach: Is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus & Potassium. Eating spinach is thought to benefit eye health, reduce oxidative stress, help prevent cancer cell development and reduce blood pressure levels. Spinach can be found growing in the UK between March and August.


- Rhubarb: Is a great source of fibre and contains moderate levels of vitamin C and calcium. Studies have linked the fibre from rhubarb in the diet with reduced cholesterol levels. Rhubarb is grown in green houses from January in the UK, but is grown in fields from April until as late as July.


- Jersey royal new potatoes: A good source of fibre and vitamin C, starting to grow in the UK (Jersey) from as early as March and can continue until late July.


- Watercress: Is rich in vitamin C, calcium, iron and folic acid. It is a cruciferous plant containing anti-cancer phytochemicals such as beta-carotene and flavonoids. Watercress is also thought to improve the function of both liver and kidneys. Watercress has a long season in the UK and is at it's best between April and October.


'WHY EAT THE SEASONS?

There are a number of good reasons to eat more local, seasonal food:

  • to reduce the energy (and associated CO2 emissions) needed to grow and transport the food we eat

  • to avoid paying a premium for food that is scarcer or has travelled a long way

  • to support the local farmers & economy

  • to reconnect with nature's cycles and the passing of time

  • seasonal food is fresher and so tends to be tastier and more nutritious'

  • Foods in season contain the nutrients, minerals and trace elements that our bodies need at particular times of the year.

  • If you're one of the one in four people in the UK suffering from hay fever, eating local honey could help to strengthen your immunity by building antibodies through gradual exposure to the local allergens found in pollen.


Read more at: http://eattheseasons.co.uk/why.php


Seasonability table: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/seasonal-calendar/20041


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In honour of this renewing season we've put together some of our favourite recipes, that we think encompass and embrace the wonderful colours and produce of spring...


Kale salad with pickled almonds and shallots: http://makingthymeforhealth.com/farro-kale-salad-with-pickled-almonds-and-shallots/


Chargrilled broccoli with sweet tahini: https://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/recipes/vegetable/char-grilled-sprouting-broccoli-with-sweet-tahini-shop


Spring Minestrone: https://www.sainsburysmagazine.co.uk/recipes/starters/spring-minestrone-with-mint-pesto


Rhubarb buckle: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/rhubarb-buckle


Spiced purple sprouting broccoli with rice noodles: https://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/recipes/vegetable/purple-sprouting-broccoli-with-rice-noodles-shop


Spring potato salad: http://makingthymeforhealth.com/spring-potato-salad/


Spring green salad: http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/recipes/salad/spring-salad-shop


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Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? This means that now is a great time to and a great reason to devote some attention to your diet, and to experience the countless health benefits a more nutrient rich diet can provide... Spring is one of the most fruitful and abundant times of the year for fruit & vegetable produce. In addition to this, many dietary health professionals and nutritionists are providing extra support this month. Check out the 'Eat Right' campaign for more information.


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Don't forget to seek out local farm shops & green grocers that stock fresh/homegrown or local/seasonal produce. The Green House Community Market Letchworth, Baldock Country Market, Hitchin farmers market and Thornes garden nursery in Letchworth (where we source our wonderfully free rage eggs) are a few of our favourites. Try to focus on sourcing an array of colourful fruits and vegetables to eat throughout the days of spring...The more colourful your plate, the more nutrients it's likely to contain!



  • Nourish

Almost all of our food produce is now available all year round, but with noticeable differences in both the flavour and price. This depends on how far and for how long the produce has had to travel. Often fruit and vegetables lose a large portion of their flavour and nutrients due to long durations in cold storage, and ineffective premature ripening.


'In season foods are also higher in vitamins and minerals. When a fruit or vegetable is harvested, it automatically begins to lose nutrients. The further food has to travel, the more nutrients it loses. Not only that, exposure to heat, sun, and air tend to reduce nutrition content even further.'


(Read More: http://www.thelist.com/87556/healthy-foods-eating-fall/?utm_campaign=clip)


There are numerous benefits to eating local, seasonal produce. Lower cost, nutrient levels, freshness and flavour to name a few.


Here are a couple of local grocers that stock fresh/homegrown/seasonal produce:


- http://www.thegog.com/gog-magog-farm-shop-cambridge/#deli

- http://churchfarmardeley.co.uk/

- The Green House Community Market Letchworth, Baldock Country Market & Hitchin farmers market.



Alternatively why not find yourself a mushroom/wild food guide and go foraging to find your food for free this Autumn?


Handy books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mushrooms-Collins-Gem-Patrick-Harding/dp/0007183070/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1507135597&sr=8-13&keywords=foraging+books


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wild-Food-Complete-Guide-Foragers/dp/1447249968/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1507135597&sr=8-2&keywords=foraging+books


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'As the colder months set in, we find ourselves turning to more stodgy foods which in turn leads to weight gain, so here we share some healthy eating tips for autumn'.


There is a huge range of nutrient rich root vegetables and fruits that have the potential to be enjoyed in abundance now, or preserved in anticipation for the colder months.


Apples – The nutrients found in apples can help prevent spikes in blood sugar and reduce the risk of a variety of chronic diseases. This fruit is in season during the autumn months and comes in a variety of flavours.

Pears – Recent studies have shown that the skin of pears contains at least three to four times as many phenolic phytonutrients (essential compounds enhancing one’s health) as the fruit’s flesh. These phytonutrients include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and potentially anti-cancer phytonutrients like cinnamic acids.

Winter Squash – Butternut and Pumpkin are just a couple of varieties of winter squash which act as a natural accompaniment to autumn cuisine. Both rich flavour, and high in nutrients, winter squash one of the best buys of the season.

Cabbage – This seasonal vegetable has cholesterol-lowering benefits, and is also rich in fibre particularly when steamed.

Wild Mushrooms – Mushrooms are really great to eat since they can help influence blood lipids, blood glucose, immunity, and weight control. They also offer many essential nutrients and antioxidants which the body needs.

Pomegranates – Considered the ‘jewel of the autumn’ Pomegranates are a rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibres. It is also a good source of Vitamin C.

Root vegetables – All different kinds of root vegetables are great – carrots, turnips and swede for example are real nutritional stars in both autumn and winter. Tasty beetroots are also great as they are jam-packed with Folate, Vitamin C and Magnesium.


Read more: http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/health/healthy-eating-tips-for-autumn-341419.html#ixzz4uYURN2DT


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An abundance of pumpkin - Pumpkin is such a versatile ingredient, and so often overlooked as a festive byproduct. With an abundance of them from mid October - mid November, why not try utilising this jolly looking, low calorie vegetable that's high in beta-carotene (a plant-based form of vitamin A) which aids vision and healthy skin, potassium, fibre and vitamin C.


(Chocolate/pumpkin and courgette loaf)



Here are a few of our favourite recipes to get you started:



Pumpkin and rice soup - https://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/pumpkin-and-rice-soup-recipe.html



Incredible Squash Pizza - http://www.wholeheartedeats.com/2013/12/iincredible-squash-pizza-htmlm1/



Squash and kale salad - http://www.saladforpresident.com/salads/david-kramer-and-hayley-magnus-squash-and-kale-salad/#recipe



Pumpkin and Feta Muffins - https://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/pumpkin-and-feta-muffins-recipe.html



Pumpkin miso broth with soba noodles - https://www.mynewroots.org/site/2016/11/pumpkin-miso-broth-soba/