• 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.

Making adjustments

Domestic goddess rating: 10% (curry night again) Five-a-day: 3/5 Food miles: 0 – but nothing to be proud of really…

On the menu: Toast,  jam & juice (breakfast); cheese sandwich (lunch); lamb biryani from the local takeaway (supper)

Just sometimes you crash up against a whole bunch of deadlines and there’s only one answer – go get a takeaway. We don’t do it every day, but it’s a real treat when we do (and feeds hubby’s inner curry-monster).

You know, I copied down all my “what’s in season when” fruit & veg faithfully from various sources, but I’m having to revise it constantly as I go along. I was up at the allotment today, where a little line of Swiss chard has been growing (or rather, huddling against the cold and rain) since last October. I’m going to hold off for another week or so, just to make sure it’s big enough, but there’s no denying it’s definitely pickable – so therefore “in season”, despite not officially turning up on my list until August.

One of the greatest advantages of growing your own is that you don’t just get things second-hand – you actually do them, for yourself, and it means you have first-hand experience of when things are in season and when things aren’t. Just goes to show – you can’t learn everything from books…  

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