And then I came across the recipe for Woodchuck. I have it memorized. "Soak in salt water 24 hours. Par-boil. Cook like squirrel."
Cook like squirrel?!? Seriously? Glenn said, "Well, everyone knows how to cook squirrel." News flash: I don't have a clue. Don't want one, come to that.
That story comes to mind just a few days from Groundhog Day as I sit here rapidly approaching the demise of my New Year's Resolution to make at least one blog post every month this year.
I started writing this particular story early last summer when the greens were still abundant and we were beginning to receive weekly requests for "what do I do with it?" and complaints of "I don't eat greens." How does this relate? Precisely to my attitude on cooking woodchuck. Or squirrel. A lot of CSA newcomers simply don't know what to do with many of the items they receive in their shares. Some of them aren't interested in finding out. Which is kind of missing the point of a CSA, but whatever.
So this is a not really very well veiled attempt at jotting down a few thoughts on the Art of Eating Seasonally.
In case you surfed your way into this blog (no doubt captured by the clever and witty title of this article) you need to know that we are a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) providing fresh garden vegetables to our members throughout the summer garden season. Our members are attracted to us for a variety of reasons, fresh and local being two of the words we hear most often repeated, and even heirloom from time to time Lots of people are on the "Eat Local" bandwagon (so are we). One word we rarely hear, however, on the lips of our members or prospective members is Seasonal.
One of the first rules of eating locally is eating seasonally. For us who are accustomed to getting whatever we want whenever we want it from the ginormous produce section of our favorite large chain grocery store, it takes some getting used to. It's a bit of a shock to some to learn that the watermelon they're bringing to the Superbowl party originated in another country or that their vine-ripened organic tomatoes were actually severed from their California hothouse plant while they were still green and then ripened in a boxcar during a long cross-country journey. (They "ripened" on the vine. There it is, still attached to the tomatoes. See any dirt? Of course not. But I digress.)
It's great to have summer vegetables in January. It's marvelous to have strawberries with Thanksgiving dinner and sweet corn for Easter. A little weird, perhaps, but marvelous nonetheless. But it's not eating locally. Unless you know a local farmer who has the wherewithal to run a year-round climate controlled greenhouse. There are some, to be sure, and not knocking them. That's something we'd like to add here since I do adore a fresh green salad and that wimpy stuff that comes in bags at the grocery store just doesn't cut it.
So where am I going with this? Well, if you're still with me, here's my point. Perhaps you read a book or saw a film or talked to a neighbor and were convinced that you need to eat food grown locally. You've heard of CSAs and think, "Wow! What an awesome idea!" So now you're shopping around for a CSA. Here's the big secret you may have missed: eating locally means eating seasonally. Eating seasonally means eating whatever's growing right here, right now, not what grew in Peru or California last week. It means finding lots of creative ways to prepare the wide variety of greens that thrive in spring and early summer and late fall. It means waiting until July at least for that first ear of sweet corn or homegrown tomato. It means dealing with all those zucchini and summer squash in late summer. And it means learning to live with canned and frozen vegetables and stored root crops all winter. It may even mean learning how to can and freeze vegetables. They're still local. I put tomatoes and peppers from our garden on the pizza I made for supper last Friday - peppers are easy peasy to freeze and tomatoes are a cinch to dry. You can even learn how to can your own tomato sauce - it's not hard. Spend an afternoon or two with your tomatoes this summer and the proceeds will feed you all winter. It's on my to-do list to get recipes and links to recipes on our recipes page - maybe I'll get there by tomato season.
Eating Locally = Eating Seasonally
What's in season on the farm this week? Woodchuck. What else?