I did my biweekly (see: every two weeks, not twice a week) grocery run today, which is always an enlightening experience. I think 1/2 of my cart is usually fresh fruits and vegetables and today was no different. This time, though, I went for some different colors and textures because fall is here and that changes the produce landscape a bit.
I use two resources to guide myself in the rough terrain of “eating in season.” It’s pretty easy not to; everything is available year-round. But if you pay a little bit of attention, you can do a fair job of it.
My first resource is actually my grocery store. Because of the current “local foods” trend which seems to be a big hit here in North Carolina, most of their fresh produce is labeled with its place of origin. I buy mainly NC food — given that I finally live in a farming state it would be silly not to — so my purchases do change with what’s available. And you can tell pretty easily when a local food is going out of season. The pickings are slimmer and the specimens tend to be smaller and a little sad looking. Tomatoes, for instance, are on their way out so the local specimens they had were kind of shriveled.
My other resource is, of course, the internet. If you google “vegetables by season” you can find a nice array of websites/articles, but here are some I especially like.
1. Vegetables and Fruits By the Season (on hubpost)
Today I bought: red grapes, cabbage, butternut squash, cauliflower, white mushrooms, bell peppers, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes.
Sometimes eating in season requires that we be more adventurous. E.g. I’ve never cooked butternut squash on my own before. But I’m going to try! If you have any recipes you like, feel free to post them in the comments.
I’m also going to be adventuring in Virginia this weekend and will buy a peck of apples, which are definitely in season.
If you really want to experience local food, I think the best thing to do is go out and find it. Consider stopping by your local fruit stand or even go picking yourself.
Happy Columbus Day weekend, all!