Last night for supper I had broccoli soup, a venison/broccoli stirfry and braised kale with garlic and onions. We’ve been enjoying a lot of great kale and broccoli recipes lately. That’s because we have kale and broccoli in the gardens now. Putting an emphasis on food that is available fresh now, from local sources, is called eating seasonally.
Until the past few decades, of course, everyone ate seasonally. Until recently it wasn’t possible, as it is now, to go into a grocery store and buy virtually anything you want, any time of the year. These days if someone wants to buy asparagus or a tomato in January, no problem. Of course when we buy produce out of season, it has been shipped from usually thousands of miles away. In order to assure shelf life, the food is usually picked before it is ripe. Often it is bathed in preservatives. Aside from relying on an unsustainable transportation and distribution system, the food doesn’t taste like real food, fresh from a local garden.
The local food and sustainable farming movements are encouraging folks to go back to eating seasonally. We look forward to changes in season in part because we look forward to the fresh foods the seasons bring. We love April’s fresh asparagus, July’s sweet corn, cucumbers and tomatoes, black-eyed peas in August and, of course, the broccoli and greens of the fall.
I believe it does a body good to eat the foods that nature provides, when nature provides them. And I know that we enjoy having our eating synch with the seasons.
One of the advantages of shopping at farmers’ markets, or belonging to a CSA, is being able to enjoy eating seasonally. If you’ve never tried orienting your diet around the foods that are natural to the season, you might give it a try. My guess is that you’ll be glad you did.