saladOne of the mantras of the eat-local movement is to eat what is in season. This has several advantages, among them reduction in energy used in shipping foods hundreds or thousands of miles, as well as saving the monetary and environmental costs associated with the energy saved. Other advantages are the increase in dietary variety and improved nutritional quality. Instead of eating the same half dozen foods all the time, sometimes from local sources, sometimes from a hemisphere away, eating locally means consuming early, late and winter season foods as they are available.

I’m now producing food year-round, so I am changing my eating habits to match what I produce. I notice what I use in my Saturday scrambled vegetables changes, from greens to string beans to squash to tomatoes and back to greens again. It’s also something I notice in dishes I make for potlucks or dinners.

In mid-September, I made a tomato and cucumber salad for a house concert potluck (see Scotland reprise), and in early October I prepared spaghetti, a squash side dish, another tomato and cucumber salad, and applesauce when I hosted my men’s group (see My Michael Pollan Meal).

This past weekend, I made an amazing (if I do say so myself) salad for a monthly potluck a friend recently started (see picture). This salad had all homemade ingredients: six varieties of lettuce (my first harvest of the winter season), three varieties of tomatoes (my last ripe ones, except for the orange globe tomatoes, which will keep going for a few more weeks), semi-ripe red sweet peppers (my last harvest of the summer season), end-of-season cape gooseberries and beginning-of-season figs. The day after Thanksgiving, I’ll be stopping to visit friends on the way back to the Bay Area, and will contribute fried green tomatoes for dinner, cooked from the  plentiful but unripened tomatoes from bushes I pulled out last weekend.

Now that my winter crops are beginning to produce, I look forward to future potluck dishes made from my rapidly growing kale and cabbage. How about some cole slaw or sauerkraut made from the coming season’s cabbage? Or, perhaps, some Mandarin oranges, ripening in the new year? Eating seasonally is an ever-evolving pleasure.