When you connect with the place your food comes from, you realize what it means to EAT IN SEASON. Not only do you have to get creative, but you indulge in the finer foods as the ripen and have an actual appreciation for what you eat. Very few of us actually eat entirely in-season, but it is worth doing what you can do. This article by Rochelle Bilow has a good summary of one’s experience working, living and eating in season on the farm.
I especially relate to a statement the author makes about deciding what to cook based on your available ingredients instead of paging through a cookbook.
“If you’re going to truly cook with the seasons, that means giving up some ingredients for part of the year. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat austerely: Surrendering to the garden’s harvest and dedicating yourself to using all of it will force you to become creative and might even put a new favorite dish on your roster.”
– Rochelle Bilow, read the full article at BonAppentit.com
As more and more people realize the value in eating in season, we need to realize that what some call a modern movement is actually as old as agriculture. Whether we go bask to the early hunters-gatherers or simply look back at those hearty homesteaders who settled the American Midwest, you ate what was grown in your garden or your neighbor’s when it was fresh and when it was in season because there was little else to be had. It was a diet of necessity. In many parts of the world, people still go about deciding what they’ll have for dinner in a similar manner.
At our farm table, those first cucumbers taste SO good. Then we eat them for six straight weeks and we’re ready for a break. Sure, we could buy cukes at the grocery store all winter long, but they don’t really don’t taste as good as those fresh from the garden, they cost a lot, who knows how many chemicals were used to grow that perfect cuke in intensive agriculture environment, and not too mention the fossil fuels it took to bring that cuke 2,000 miles across the country. We can say the same about strawberry, lettuce, and much more.
The organic, local eating trend is gaining a serious following in upscale restaurants. Chefs are shopping at farmer’s markets on a daily basis for local, fresh ingredients and charging more than if the ingredients had been pulled out of a frozen cardboard box from their distributor. Food that is grown nearby tastes better because it is fresher. All chefs know fresh ingredients are key to good tasting food. It’s also healthier for you because nutrients are at their maximum when the source is nearby. And oftentimes these characteristics come with a premium price. But that’s what people are interested in right now and consumers are willing to pay for all the right reasons.