On Eating With the Seasons

 Recently, people have been asking me how long I’ve worked at the farm. Every time I hear this question, I puff out my chest and proclaim “Five months!”

Then I feel completely and utterly silly.

The truth is, these past four months have been completely life-changing. I used to cherish my weekly trek to the grocery store with my fiancé: planning meals, joking about anything and everything that strikes us as funny or strange, arguing about whether to get the brand name orange juice or the off-brand (it only saves us twenty five cents but I swear the brand name tastes better. I’m an advertising agent’s dream come true, I guess.) Now, grocery stores kind of freak me out.

I know that sounds really melodramatic, but hear me out.

These days, when I step into a grocery store aisle, I wonder at how non-perishable everything is.  Since starting my CSA share, most of my food comes to me very fresh.  In fact, the only things we buy from the market these days are dry goods like bread, flour, sugar, beans, coffee, the occasional bag of chocolate chips for my famous cookies- the essentials. More than ever, I’m cooking things from scratch, which is far less time-consuming than most people give it credit for. I can whip up a nice steak dinner with a side salad and cooked veggies in half an hour without breaking a sweat, and I perform this miracle nightly to the delight of my partner (who earns his home-cooked meals by being my dish slave. I find this to be a very favorable trade- I loathe doing dishes.)

So there are no more long jogs through the market, no more impulse buys; going to the grocery store is more like a tactical strike these days. I’m in and out in under ten minutes, and if it’s not on the list it doesn’t go in my cart. Okay, sometimes it goes in my cart, but I swear I’m learning discipline. What this means for my diet is that I’m gearing up for a major shift.

Summer is a time for cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet corn, avocados and squash. Through June, July and August, we’ve eaten tons of cold salads laden with our weekly veggie box bounty as well as a fair amount of sautéed squash. The sweet corn was an especially welcome treat, and one that we’ll miss as we move into fall. But fall will bear its own interesting lineup of delectable foods! I’m looking forward to broccoli, celery, carrots and other heartier veggies as the weather cools down. The focus will really shift to foods that are warming and hearty as opposed to cool and light.

It is a commonly accepted idea that eating with the seasons is best for your body, offering the best range of fresh, nutritionally diverse foods we could ask for. It will certainly be an interesting adventure, getting through the winter without my usual fare of imported vegetables (as my mother often jokes, “It’s summer somewhere in the world!”) But, as I bid farewell to my old standby recipes, I look forward to picking up a whole host of new ones as the rainy season sets in.

So, to my fellow seasonal eaters- happy fall!-

Your Tour-Giving, Food-loving Customer Service Girl