Autumn’s crisp blue sky and the brilliant reds, yellows and oranges of the trees make it a special time of year. Fall is also harvest time when the growing season ends and mature crops are gathered. The cranberry harvests on Cape Cod are a sight to behold. CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and Farmer’s Markets are winding down and farmers put their fields to bed and get some much-needed rest from the busy season.
This year, think about eating locally as much as possible throughout the fall and winter. Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmer’s Markets, mostly root vegetables, apples and cranberries in New England, and store them in your basement or cold storage area.
Canning and freezing are great ways to extend the life of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you have a garden, you probably already know how to make and can fresh tomato sauce, applesauce, jellies and jams with the abundance of summer fruits. Herbs freeze well too, so gather some before the first frost. “Fresh” herbs are a welcome surprise to winter dishes.
Eating locally all yearlong is getting easier with winter CSAs and winter Farmer’s Markets. Many communities now offer them.
Eating organic food grown locally is important for many reasons – its fresher, more nutritious, supports local farmers and requires less oil because it is not transported far and grown organically. As Barbara Kingsolver says in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, (a wonderful book about her family’s experience eating only seasonal and local food for one year – I highly recommend it.), “If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. … Becoming a less energy-dependent nation may just need to start with a good breakfast.”
Celebrate autumn and the harvest this year and enjoy great food all year long.