• 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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Seasonal sarnies

Domestic goddess rating: 50% Five-a-day: 3/5 Food miles: about 40

On the menu: Toast, jam ‘n’ juice (breakfast); omelette (lunch); cheese and salad sandwiches (supper)

We have a swimming marathon after school on Tuesdays which involves spending two hours at the local  baths with a lesson each end and a lot of splashing about in the middle. They don’t tell you when you sign up for having kids that a big part of it involves spending unfeasibly long amounts of time freezing your bum off in a public swimming pool and dreaming about what else (that’s warmer) you might be doing.

Anyway… another little problem about our swimathon is how to manage food. We have to take a picnic with us – Princess the Elder eats it while Princess the Younger is doing her lesson, and then they swap over. I now discover that while wearing my seasonal eating halo sandwich making in winter becomes a real challenge. No tomatoes, no cucumber, and since the girls don’t like pickle we’re down to plain cheese which is as boring as anything as well as not very healthy.

I resorted to salad leaves, unfortunately not from my garden as we’ve been clobbering my patch faster than I can grow new stuff lately – it’s taking me a bit of time to get up to speed with the extra demands on it now it’s about the only green leaf we can eat that’s not cabbage. Apparently the packet of salad I panic-bought this afternoon comes from Kent, though, so not too bad. And all’s well that ends well – both kids wolfed them down and pronounced them “yummy” – so that’s sorted out our sarnies till cucumbers come back!


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