Studies exploring the pathway to carbon neutral agriculture in the UK agree that importing vegetables and fruits from close neighbours such as France, Italy, Morocco and Spain will be an important part of building a sustainable future for UK farming.
The warmer climate in these countries means a hugely extended growing season which allows a more varied diet year round which we believe encourages people to eat more healthy and sustainable fruit and veg. Fruit and nut crops are particularly beneficial as land is turned from arable to orchard production tree growth sequesters carbon.
To that end we procure as much produce as we can from the UK in addition to following the seasonal fruits grown in Europe. Here’s a summary of the fruit seasons in the UK and Europe:
Citrus – Oranges, Mandarins and Lemons are in season from late Autumn to Spring, luckily when there isn’t much other fruit about!
Apples and Pears – grown in the UK, France and Belgium these are available for a large part of the year due to modern atmospherically controlled cold stores from September to June.
Stone Fruits – We of course love English plums and cherries but the seasons are so short we buy lovely European plums or cherries when we can find them. Along with apricots, peaches and nectarines the stone fruit season runs from May until about September.
Melons – These are available from May until October.
Grapes – Available all year round in Supermarkets they are flown from all over the world from South America to India, the European (and Turkish) season is in the Autumn.
Bananas – These of course do not come from Europe but actually have a low carbon footprint as they can be transported by sea and given the nutrition in a banana they actually represent a sustainable source of nutrition compared to other fruits.
Apples from the Southern hemisphere often make an appearance in our fruit boxes in the gap between European seasons. These are another crop which store well and can be transported by sea meaning they have a relatively low carbon footprint also due to the fact that warmer climate in the Southern Hemisphere means the yield is considerably more per acre than apple orchards in the UK.