During the summers, I lived with my grandparents and grew up eating vegetables from my grandfather’s large urban garden. His garden plot was so big, he actually “rented” part of a neighbor’s backyard with the rent paid in fresh produce.
As I grew older and moved away, I lost touch with the joys of seasonal eating. I bought whatever fruits or veggies a recipe called for with no regard to the time of year. Now I am slowly rediscovering the fun and flavor of seasonal foods. But I didn’t grow up in Michigan, so I wondered, “What food is seasonal here?”. Complicating the matter is pretty much every food is available all the time with modern transportation methods, ignoring the cost of gas and pollution. Even at the farmer’s market I see signs that say “From California” or “Grown in Florida”! So, what’s a seasonal eater to do?
Despite the imports at the farmer’s market, most vendors are selling local, homegrown goods. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The largest farmer’s market in the area is the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market which runs from May to Christmas open 8am-3pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Other area farmer’s markets can be found at the Michigan Farmer’s Markets website.
But that still leaves the question, “What’s in season?”. The best answer I’ve found is at the National Resources Defense Council. Like right now, I’m looking at picking up some local asparagus, peas, potatoes and rhubarb at the farmer’s market tomorrow.
So, now I’ve found my market and my seasonal tastes but what should I make with them? Thankfully, the Grand Rapids Public Library has a great selection of seasonal foods cookbooks as well as books on the importance of local eating!