14 May 2011

Tis The Season

As part of our family's mission to consume less, be responsible more, and eat real food, I have been making a concerted effort to buy seasonal produce from local sources.  I have dubbed all of Holland local, as well as Belgium.  I make exceptions for things as far as Spain.  This is not a hard and fast rule, but I figure the more local things I buy, the less I'm supporting the huge cost (time, effort, quality, etc) of transporting bananas from South Africa.  I am missing my bananas, though…

So, just as I was getting really tired of cabbage, witloaf, and potatoes, spring happened.  And now we're up to our knees in asparagus, spinach, and lettuce.  Cucumbers are coming in, but they're still from the greenhouse.

Our own lettuce and spinach are almost ready for harvest.

It's easy for me to do this for a couple of reasons:

1.  Every town center has a weekly open air market
2.  Every vendor displays both the product for sale and where it came from
3.  My kids love to help me garden

Farmer's markets exist all over the USA also.  That makes it considerably easier to find seasonal local produce, because for the most part, that's all you can find.  However, sometimes you see stray avacados that some vendor has brought in from somewhere else.  If you are fine with it, then don't worry about it.  But if you would like a more accurate picture of the growing season, I recommend the vegetannual created by Barbara Kingsolver.  I realized as I read her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that I had a lot to learn about the annual growing season.  Growing up with access to any produce all year long does that to you. 

But again, I spout all these noble and lofty goals and save the real reason for all this effort for the bottom.  
Consuming less is great.  Simpler living is fantastic.  Cost savings of seasonal produce is significant.  But, if none of those reasons existed, this one alone is worth the effort:

fresh, seasonal produce tastes better.  Mealy hothouse tomatoes are gross.  Juicy deep red summer tomatoes are heavenly.  It's a fact.  Vegetables I never liked before are suddenly addictive. 

Just one more reason I.  LOVE.  SUMMER.

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