• 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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Stirring things up

Domestic goddess rating: 100% (gardening goddess too today) Five-a-day: 5/5 Food miles: none

On the menu: Cereal and juice (breakfast); pasta & pesto and an awful lot of chocolate biscuits (lunch); PSB and prawn stir-fry with noodles (supper)

Another triumph today – harvested the first-ever purple sprouting broccoli from the allotment! I’ve been anticipating this for weeks now as they’ve been teasing me by producing shoots but not actually growing purple tops to them, but I arrived there today to discover lots of luscious little dark flower heads. Snipped them off and they were in the pan within half an hour. 

This is the kind of freshness you can never, never get with shop-bought veg, no matter how good the shop. We’re talking firm, blemish-free stems; leaves and heads that are still full of sap and haven’t had time to dry out, so are juicy and crunchy; and flavour second to none, as it’s had no time to deteriorate. It’s why I grow my own as much as possible, and you have to experience it to realise what a quantum leap it is from what we eat most of the time. 


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