When the weather starts getting nice, I start thinking about produce. Does that make me weird? I start thinking about the calendar and what’s in season. I try to plan my meals around what’s being harvested nearby, what wonderful farms in the area are out picking fresh berries or squash.
Though I haven’t gone the way of building my own farm just yet (I have a bit of a black thumb) I still try to support local food producers by buying direct from the source or through a local vendor. The Farmers Markets in the area are just outstanding, and loaded with local food items.
To be honest, I’m more aware of seasonal food items because of a mistake I made once – well, maybe more than once – while we were running the catering business. We had this marvelous wedding menu and whenever we catered a wedding reception, we always tried to include chocolate dipped strawberries as a compliment to the wedding cake. Unfortunately, early in the game, I was still on a bit of a learning curve, and animatedly told more than one wedding couple, scheduling a Winter wedding, that there would be chocolate strawberries. Oy, was the chef mad. I won’t tell you about the mess I made when I scheduled a menu of wild salmon for a party in December.
Since then, I’m pretty up on my game as far as what’s in season these days. The web has a few handy seasonal produce menus to choose from – I like this one and this one. Now, go forth and purchase seasonally!