I suffer from it year round, living here. Welcome to my Seasonal Eating Depression. It occurs when I long to be conscientious and eat locally and seasonally. You know what constitutes seasonal 'availability' here in Georgia in March?
Carrots, greens and strawberries.
That's it. You know what just SOUTHERN California gets?
Avocado, Beets, Blood Orange, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots , Cauliflower,
Celery, Chard , Collards, Dates (Medjool), Grapefruit, Green Onion,
Green Peas, Kale, Kohlrabi, Kumquats, Lemons, Lettuce, Mushroom,
Mustard, Navel Orange, Passion Fruit, Spinach, Strawberries,
Tangelos, Tangerines, Turnips.
This doesn't consider the northern part of the state. They get: Almonds, Apples, Artichokes , Arugula, Asian Greens , Asian Pears, Asparagus, Avocado, Beans, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cardoons, Carrots, Cauliflower, Chard, Cherimoyas, Collards, Cress, Dandelion/Chicory Greens, Dates, Endive, Fennel, Garlic, Gourds, Grapefruit, Green Garlic, Guava, Herbs, Horseradish, Kale , Kiwi, Kumquats, Leeks, Lemons, Lettuces, Limes, Mandarins, Mushrooms, Nettles, Olives, Onions, Oranges, Parsnips, Pistachios, Pumelos, Potatoes, Radish, Rapini , Rutabaga, Scallions, Spinach, Strawberries , Tangerines, Tomatoes, Turnips, Walnuts. Closer to us, Florida also gets an unfair wealth of produce.
Wanna cry with me?
Our little town has a farmer's market that runs every weekend from June through October. We always go to support the local farmers. Sure, the herbs are lovely to pick up fresh; but the produce they offer is your run of the mill bell peppers, beefsteak tomatoes, some bok choy and chard. Our local farmers very seldom veer from what is familiar to the denizens; which makes perfect sense. Why grow produce on expensive land that no one recognizes much less eat? I don't begrudge them their livelihood in growing and bringing vegetables and fruits that their local customers want.
The grocery store offers a little more variety, but not by much; and with produce prices up almost 30 percent in the last few months, I'm not inclined to continue paying for vegetables and fruits that were grown in Chile and Argentina. And I'm still stunned that my grocery store, in Georgia, home state of peaches, stocks peaches from other states and other countries.
But with what does that leave me? Not a lot of choices. I yearn for heirloom tomatoes. I crave Seascape strawberries. I want English peas in the spring to make mint pea soup. I'm getting sick of paying $4.99 for a bag of fresh herbs at the grocery store. I would love a cutting garden for fresh flowers -- tulips are my second favorite flowers and Gerbera daisies make me swoon.
What this means, of course, is that I have to do this myself.
And I am the owner of a garden featuring six large beds with built-in, in-ground sprinklers, all within the confines of a white picket fence, courtesy of the previous homeowner. I haven't got much in the way of an excuse not to grow my own fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. When we first moved to the house, I planted Roma tomatoes, peppers and herbs. Subsequent years found me traveling or too lazy to make an effort. But with my friend Amanda's recent return to Georgia, I found a renewed inspiration, and a partner with whom to tend the garden.
The rosemary bush has taken over its box as have the thyme and sage. The recent addition of curly and flat leaf parsley completes the Simon and Garfunkel song; and I reintroduced basil. I also decided to try my hand at germinating seeds - and stunningly, they took -- so chives and Thai basil will enter the herb boxes next. Our tomatoes from Laurel's Heirloom Tomatoes will be arriving soon: we have Green Zebra, and Goose Creeks and Laurel herself is selecting some varieties that will flourish in our climate. Seascape strawberries have been ordered from Raintree Nursery. We are also planning to add blueberries and corns; it's too late for carrots this season but we'll add heirloom carrots to the garden for next March: purplish Dragon carrots, yellow Amarillos and the Atomic Reds. I'm thinking about artichokes, cabbages, melons and oh the list is just endless, isn't it?
I'm hopeful that by this time next year, my S.E.D. will have been transformed into a nice little O.C.G. (obsessive compulsive gardening). Wish me luck.