|Claire pruning grapevines in March.|
Before I became what my friends and neighbors lovingly call a "hardcore" gardener, I'd shop each week at the grocery store for all of our favorite fresh fruits and vegetables. I prided myself on a cart that was always well balanced- cabbage, peppers, broccoli, apples, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, grapes... you know what I mean. The only time I ever gave thought to the fact that a particular food was out of season was when it drastically affected the price ($4 per pound for asparagus in October, you must be kidding me!?). So as my garden grew I found myself in an unfamiliar situation- for instance during the summer of 2008 I probably uttered the phrase "please, PLEASE, no more greens" at least a hundred times. I'd put so much time and effort into planting, tending, and loving those vegetables that each head of lettuce practically had its own name. But when the harvests started really coming in I felt-- I don't know-- over it.
|Claire planting seedlings with Debbie Wickham.|
It was only when we made this decision that it all started to click for me. I finally realized that eating local isn't just about supplementing the grocery store with a few fruits and vegetables here and there, but rather embracing all of the peculiarities of the growing season and what it gives us. I realized that there were so many leafy greens in the spring because our bodies had been surviving on calorie dense foods all winter, like potatoes, squash, grains, meat etc. Dark leafy greens are some of the most concentrated forms of nutrients, you get A LOT of bang for your buck out of them. They are low in calories but high in everything our body craves after a long, dreary winter. In other words all those salad greens that grow in the spring are nature's way of telling us to replenish and revitalize ourselves. The Earth is providing for us what we need to gear ourselves up for a labor-intensive warm season. We truly need those greens, even if we start to resent all those salads by the 4th of July!
After we've feasted on greens, the warm weather hits. We start to go outside more, exert ourselves more, and dehydrate a lot more quickly. It is at this point in the season that watery foods start coming into full swing. Berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon... all of these have LOADS of water. We rarely stop to think about why it is that the watery-est vegetables and fruits tend to grow during the driest times of the year. It's simply that unrelenting mother nature reminding us to stay hydrated! Water is, after all, the thing with which our bodies cannot survive. So eat those watery foods in the summer, and just when you feel like you can't eat another tomato or cucumber- eat a couple more, they will be gone soon :)
|Claire checks on potatoes in July.|
At Wickham Farms CSA we work very hard to provide our customers with the best possible variety throughout the growing season, and I think we do a pretty good job! Still, if you find yourself feeling a bit salad-fatigued around by the beginning of July, try to remember that those watery summer treats are just around the corner!