Four Seasons

Finnish year cycle has been divided into four very distinct seasons. I find eating according to them not only cheaper and helping me to stay in touch with where my food actually comes from, but also fun and making my diet more diverse and versatile. My best advise for anyone wanting to eat more seasonally regardless of where on the planet they happen to reside is to go for a walk in the nature around you and see what things you could use right now. Farm vegetables too are at their tastiest when you can get them domestic and fresh.

Try playing a squirrel: during the warm period you can preserve things to use when it's cold. It's also fun and educational to try growing things yourself at your own home, even if the actual nutritional value of that probably remains low. If you eat meat, winter is the perfect time for game and spring for fish, whereas summer and autumn make it the easiest to cut on the consumption since there are so many other things to eat. Notice that although seasonal is quite often also very local, this isn't always the same thing. Imported oranges in January are tastier and more environmentally sound than tomatoes grown in greenhouses.



Spring is the time when nature starts to come back alive after the long,  dark winter. One by one, my diet becomes richer, and my feet start to draw me outside. First, I'm all crazy about veggies that start to arrive from Southern Europe and the shoots growing on my window shelf. Then the snow melts and green, extremely nutritious things start to appear in the ground and on the trees. False morels and rhubarb appear at the end of the season. This is time for fresh flavours, herbs and crunchy things. Spring is also marked with numerous feast that celebrate life itself.

In season:
- shoots
- rhubarb
- birch sap
- first wild veggies: nettle, fireweed, ground elder, dandelion, goosefoot, lady's mantle
- spring mushrooms and cultivated mushrooms: false morel, black morel, champignon, shiitake
- veggies from Southern Europe: new potatoes, asparagus, fennel, eggplant, spring cabbage, celery, radish



Many Finns consider summer to be the time of the year when they can really feel alive. It's warm, the Sun never goes down and it feels we live in the middle of abundance when all those crunchy veggies are at their best. During summer I could just live on raw food, salads and cold soups, and I tend to lose weight just because I move and travel so much. Then again, it's also the time for grilling, ice cream and cold beer in the park.

In season:
- berries: strawberries, bilberries, raspberries, gooseberries
- new harvest veggies: peas, cauliflower, radish, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, green beans, bell pepper
- more wild veggies like chickweed, red clover, meadowsweet
- salads, herbs, spinach, early cabbage, spring onions
- earliest mushrooms: golden chantarelles, first boletes and russulas



Autumn is the main harvest season for more filling vegetables and crops. This is also the time of the year the kilometres my food travels before hitting my plate can come close to zero. There's the forest, there's my own little allotment garden, there are the overproductive fruit trees of friends. This is very cheap time of the year but also the busiest one if you're going to fill your freezer and closet for the winter.

In season:
- mushrooms: boletes, russulas, milkcaps, yellowfoot, not to mention many less common ones
- berries: lingonberries, sea buckthorn, black currant, cloudberry, cranberry
- apples, plums, pears
- broccoli, Brussels spouts, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi
- pumpkin, corn
- new harvest root vegetables
- wild roots for spices and teas



During the winter months it can get really cold up here and nature is covered by snow, so nothing grows. It's also very dark most of the day which tends to get my winter blues on. This time of the year I tend to gain a little weight since I move less and feel tired. I feel I need warm, spicy and easily digested food. The perfect time for so called comfort food, very traditional dishes but also trying out exotic flavours. Many people find this the hardest time for being seasonal, but it's also the time when you least need to worry about it or spend energy for food. Remember it's enough if the main things in your plate follow the seasons, you don't have to aim for perfection.

In season:
- sprouts
- white, red and Savoy cabbage
- onions
- root vegetables like carrot, turnip, beet, potato, rutabaga, celeriac, sunroot, black salsify
- dried, frozen and canned stuff
- peas and beans
- some imported fruits are in season, especially citrus fruits and nuts

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