BY VICKY BROWN, July 5, 2013
Long before I became a food producer I was, of course, a food consumer, as we all are. You probably have all heard the saying “You are what you eat,” which I wish was true in the literal sense. How cool would it be to see a cow, chicken or salad shake down the street with bottles of chemicals trailing behind like cans tied to a “just married” bumper?
Often in this little corner of the blogosphere, I like to post about food, including recipes. I know I’ve promised a blog about the incredible goat meat with goat yogurt roast I made the other night. I’m sorry, but for that you’ll have to wait … Next post!
It is market season and at market I’m hearing about all of the latest dietary trends. No longer Atkins and grapefruit, the new crop of trendy eating is in vogue/season. Did you know kale is out and chard is in? Ridiculous.
Market season is really the time of year when fresh goods from farmers are readily available and easy to get in a fun, social environment. It is also the four- to six-month period in which a farmer has to make her money to sustain the farm for the next 12 months, pay off any debts, and pay for any improvements or equipment she might need.
Magical market season.
Market season is the highlight of trendy foods… or food trends. It is a celebration of a style of eating that is the healthiest and most primal in all animals. The ultimate food trend: seasonal eating.
The bizarre food trends I hear about at market couldn’t have even existed 50 or 60 years ago; food was not readily available everywhere. Salmon was not being farmed and flown in from Chile. Cucumbers were either in season or pickles. Food systems like refrigeration and pasteurization were still being developed. Atomizing your food … well it wasn’t heard of and, if you had mentioned frothing your fish, you probably would have been sent to the town doc to be checked for rabies or witchcraft.
The trend then, as in the six million years prior, was seasonal eating.
As a race we have been practicing preserving seasonal foods to get us through the low times for thousands of years. Cheese was not made to be consumed with tasting notes and pairing requirements. It was made to preserve milk. Jerky was not made to be a food available at every convenience store in a bag with its own stay-fresh chem-pack. It was made because raw elk, buffalo or venison didn’t travel as well in the saddle bag.
Are you a trend follower when it comes to your meals? Have you ever cut meat, bread, dairy or potatoes out of your diet? If so, then you know about trends. Have you ever consumed a disproportionate amount of grapefruit, fats, protein or smoothies? Then you are an expert food trend follower. The challenge I offer today is to do something for your health and your community. Take a canning class, get a chest freezer, and set out to eat local and seasonally prepare your food.
If you spend like the farmers earn, 80 percent of your food budget and food work/preparation time are in the months of April through October when you grow or buy and consume or preserve those local goodies. Then from November to March, while your food budget is low, consume from your larder. Eat your canned goods, eat from your freezer… eat like royalty on the best food available, picked and saved at its best.
It isn’t crazy. I will help you. I will keep posting seasonal recipes.
To tide you over, click here for an offering from another local producer making a delicious, seasonally appropriate pizza! (Warning: this will make you REALLY hungry.)
Days are longer now, you have time to do this. I’m not asking you to go back in time and throw away your smart phone or disconnect your Pinterest account, just invest a little time in you, your family and your community.
A year from now, you will be healthier, wiser, and even more savvy as you come back to market season, renew your CSA memberships and prepare for another year of the best food trend ever: local seasonal eating.
Vicky Brown, Chief Milkmaid at the Little Brown Farm, puts her passions on the page writing about food, agriculture, and the tender web of community.