• 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.

Fast food

Domestic goddess rating: 10% Five-a-day: 4/5 Food miles: 0 (but that’s nothing to feel smug about today) 

On the menu: Toast, jam ‘n juice (breakfast); toasted sandwich and apple pie at a friend’s house (lunch); sausages, chips and frozen sweetcorn (supper)

It’s been one of our hair-raisingly busy days today. I was working all day, then as soon as the kids got out of school we had a party to go to which was a good half-hour’s drive away. Dropped Princess the Elder at the party, then by the time we’d got home Princess the Younger and I had just enough time to speed-cook the sausages & chips under the grill and shove some frozen veg on the stove, wolf it down and set off back for pick-up again. And when we got home again it was (past) bedtime.

It’s days like these – and let’s face it, that’s pretty typical for a busy family – when it’s hardest of all to be seasonal. Preparing fresh veg does take time – OK, it’s not much time (can’t take much more than 15 minutes to slice and steam some cabbage, for example), but that’s against less than 10 minutes for frozen, and five minutes makes a difference when you have 45 minutes to cook supper, eat and get out of the house again. This is the no. 1 obstacle to the whole five-a-day, healthy eating, seasonal living ideal. I don’t really have any answers just at the moment: but this is the one I have to figure out a solution for.

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