How the Seasonal Calendar was created

Eating more seasonal fruits and vegetables is one of the top things people want to do for the climate. To help people achieve this, we created the seasonal calendar.

In the process of creating it, lots of decisions were taken. If you are curious, have a look below and find out more. We want to be 100% transparent on our approach.

🧐 What's the background story: why was the seasonal calendar created?

It all started in the summer of 2022. We were again looking at the challenges people shared with us. And one of the things that was mentioned often: eating seasonally. This was in line with other research that mentioned this is one of the top things people want to do to solve climate change.

We sat down and tried to investigate what makes eating seasonally so difficult. The problem: most of us don't know it by heart and in the supermarket everything is year-round available and there are no real cues to help us.

So rather than creating just another list of seasonal fruits and vegetables - which you then still need to remember when you are in the supermarket - we wanted to offer a short cut. What if you could just pick a recipe and know it's seasonal? It's not just a recipe with one fresh veggie that's in season, but you can be sure all fresh vegetables are in season. 

🥩 Why is there no meat included in the recipes?

All 48 recipes of the seasonal calendar are without meat and contain less dairy or no dairy. 

While eating seasonal fruits and vegetables is a step in the reduction of our CO2 impact of our food, reducing our meat and dairy consumption is a more impactful one. That's why we wanted to make sure this seasonal calendar helps you with both. Read more here.

🧑‍🍳 How are the recipes created?

The seasonal recipes have gone through the same process and have the same requirements as the standard Fork Ranger recipes. Read more here.

🛒 Are all ingredients in the recipes local ingredients?

The short answer is: not always. In a handful of the 48 recipes a (fresh) exotic ingredient is included. For example (canned) pineapple. This is never in season here. 

However, it's okay to sometimes eat these exotic fruits. Besides, we also import rice, pasta, and tons of other good stuff. 

For the fresh vegetables and fruits on the seasonal calendar we've chosen to only list the ones that are actually grown in this region. All others should be treated as a luxury addition every now and then.

🥫 In general, why are frozen and canned vegetables included in the recipes?

All of the fresh vegetables are in season. There are also frozen and canned vegetables added to the recipes, mainly for three reasons:

  1. It's important to eat sufficient vegetables, especially for dinner as we often consume less vegetables during breakfast and lunch.
  2. We want to offer a variety of vegetables in one recipe, as this makes sure we get a variety of vitamins and minerals. Eating diverse foods is important in a healthy diet.
  3. Frozen and canned vegetables are often locally processed when they are harvested in season when there's a surplus.
🍅 Why is a vegetable added in frozen or canned form, while it is in season this month?

Choosing a recipe is easier if you can see which vegetables it contains. That's why on the monthly overview (after scanning the QR code on the calendar) we've added a 🍅, even if there are canned tomatoes in it. The icon suggests there are fresh tomatoes in it, why then does the recipe contain canned tomatoes?

The recipes have been created so they can be made in several months. If we would only use fresh tomato in the standard recipe, we would limit the amount of months this recipe is in season.

However, we've highlighted it for the recipe, in which months you can substitute the frozen or canned vegetables by fresh ones, so that you can tailor the recipe to the month you are making it!

🍁 How accurate is the seasonality?

This seasonal calendar applies to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK.

One thing is for sure: it's not 100% accurate. You can only get to 100% if you go outside and cycle to the nearest farmers. Weather differs each year and even local differences exist when you compare coast and inland temperatures and rainfall.

For this seasonal calendar we've decided to stick to climate regions and culinary regions. The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and UK are all in the Atlantic climate region. And we know the recipes fit with the tastes in these countries.