July 06, 2006

L is for... locally grown vegetables
(yes the alphabet is running backwards for a bit...)

I've always been pretty hazy about which things are in season when: I'm a child of the seventies, our birthright was to have anything we wanted on our supermarket shelves whenever we wanted it!

I didn't even know fish had seasons until I discovered the BBC's monthly guide to in-season foods. This is a great reference and because it links straight to their recipe database, it inspired me to try new things. It's forced me not to be stuck in the rut of grabbing the same old apples, bananas, carrots, lettuce etc.

And, of course, it radically cuts down on the food miles. I commuted 70 miles on one of the busiest motorways in the UK for two days of the week up until last year. I was constantly cursing the lorries. But there again I was still automatically buying apples in July - not because I desperately wanted apples, but because I just always bought apples. Some of those lorries (and more lorries in New Zealand or South Africa) were because of my buying habits.

Last year I discovered Northern Harvest, who deliver food from their own farm and those around them to homes in a radius of 50 miles. Suddenly there's excitement when something first comes into season and desperation to buy lots of something as they warn there's only a week left (we had a LOT of pears a month or so ago). I get to choose my vegetables by COUNTY (not country) now.


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