Okay… There are many fruits and veggies that come into season before the middle of August. But that’s the time ‘Harvest Season’ officially starts in my part of the world, and it’s a great time to try the kind of diet that Canada’s Food Guide advocates: One high in Fresh Produce…
Fresh, locally-grown Produce is starting to come into the supermarkets in North America’s Temperate climate Zone and I have begun to brood and complain about the produce bounty we have at this time of year, and how little time we have to enjoy it. How can we make the most of this blessing?
Appreciating what we have…
I remember, when I was a young child, that every family – and I mean the whole family – got into the act at this time of year, preserving the harvest from their back gardens in anticipation of need over the winter to come. Many homes still had root cellars to store root veggies such as Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Turnips, Parsnips and Winter Squashes. I remember how communities got together to celebrate a great harvest with fairs and feasts.
These days, we can get almost any food we want, any day of the year we want, at the supermarket. Even those of us with large suburban and rural lots don’t bother to, or have no time to plant Veggie gardens. Annual harvest fairs, which were once the foci of the season for whole communities, have become quaint day-trip destinations the majority of folks (City dwellers) visit for the novelty foods and Giant Pumpkin contests. The majority of the population has become at least a couple of degrees from the whole culture agriculture and is ignorant of the significance of the fields of Corn, Wheat, Soy Beans, Barley and Hay they see this time of year driving to the cottage.
To get into the real, original spirit of the season, I invite you to search out Joni Mitchell’s hit 1970 environmental protest track, Big Yellow Taxi, and really listen to the lyrics…
What we can do
First of all, plan to grow some of your own Produce next year. You’d be surprised how many Tomatoes you can harvest from a single window box with just two or three plants.
Second, patronize your local market gardeners. They’re bringing their bounty to you, via Produce stands up and down the country roads and at parking lots across your city.
Third, start preserving again. You can get great deals on some locally-grown foods this time of year when they’re in season. It really takes relatively little effort to pickle almost any Veggie or preserve almost any Soft Fruit. Why pay $5 per pound in the depths of Winter for imported Tomatoes when they’re available now for $1.49 a pound? And bursting with freshness, flavour and natural ripeness? Get started by searching this site for ‘pickle’ via the site search tool. Make a big batch of your own multi-purpose Tomato Sauce and freeze it.
Once you’ve mastered any two of the three challenges above, you’ll probably realize how important it is to get back in tune with the Harvest Time Tradition, and start taking direct responsibility for your own future, where Fruits, Veggies and Grain will make up the bulk of all our diets.
~ Maggie J.