• In season now: May

    New this month: Asparagus! The food of gods... and carrots are back.

    Still in season from last month: cauliflower, chard, green cabbage, salad leaves, main-crop potatoes (from store), salad leaves, sea kale, spring greens, rhubarb

    Goodbye till next year to: Purple sprouting broccoli (sniff, sniff), leeks, stored parsnips, forced rhubarb

  • What I’m doing here

    This all started when I picked the first strawberries from my new allotment.

    I'd never been so enraptured or so excited by food. It was a shock to find that anything could taste so good.

    So what - I'd never had strawberries before?

    No - all the strawberries I'd had were shop-bought, like as not flown in from intensive growers in Spain or Chile, and eaten in winter when strawberries should be a distant summer memory.

    It revolutionised my thinking about the fresh food we eat every day. I started to wonder if you got the same amazing taste from all types of food grown and eaten in season. And then I decided to do something about it.

    The Year of Eating Seasonally is my little experiment to find out what it's really like not to have it all. The only fruit and veg I and my family are going to eat in 2008 will be what's growing in the ground at the time (or, in winter, what I can get out of store).

    I want to find out if the hungry gap is really as hungry as everyone says it is: whether you're really eating nothing but cabbage all winter; and whether you miss strawberries in December.

    Along the way I hope I'll save a few tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere on my behalf, as I won't be requiring those French beans flown from Chile, thanks very much. And I hope I'll be rediscovering what food can really taste like.

    If you have any comments, please feel free to post them anywhere you like - or you can email me at sallywhite@hotmail.com.

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Easy grub

Domestic goddess rating: 50% Five-a-day: 4/5 Food miles: close to zero

On the menu: Toast, jam ‘n’ juice (breakfast); pasta & pesto (lunch); baked potatoes, ham and salad (supper)

Here’s proof that eating seasonally doesn’t have to be difficult, even at this time of year. Baked spuds are only really possible when you’ve got big, hefty maincrops in season, and they’re a favourite of ours. The kids love them, and they’re so easy to cook we do it on “emergency” days – like today, when we all go swimming straight after school and haven’t time to cook properly. 

I like to rub some olive oil into the skins before I pop them in the oven at about gas mark 4 (180C/350F) and leave them there for at least 1 1/2 hours – I prefer 2, as that way you get a really soft, fluffy inside. Then you just cut in half and top with a knob of butter and a heap of grated cheese; add salad freshly picked from the garden, and ham from the local butcher’s (the pig farm they use is walking distance from our house), and you have seasonal food with hardly any food miles and hardly any effort, either.


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