A season for everything

Last week, we talked about powering up our meals with Power Foods, which, of course, include fruits and veggies.

Austin's bounty in June, a sample of the offerings from Johnson's Backyard Organic Garden

Austin’s bounty in June, a sample of the offerings from Johnson’s Backyard Organic Garden

One of the great things about summer is the wide availability of delicious, hyper-fresh, direct-from-the-farm produce. The tangy-sweet of peaches, pleasant bite of jewel-colored radishes, warm meatiness of tomatoes (perhaps with the spicy-green of basil), and snappy freshness of green beans punctuate summers’ adventures in Austin. Every winter I gaze at the packages of imported cherries, fragrance-free berries, and pale tomatoes, knowing they are pale imitations of their local cousins I’ll be able to get in just a few months’ time. I may sigh, but then I look further, or head out to the farmers’ markets, and see emerald-green kale, butternut squash, and gorgeous grapefruit.

We live in a world where, in many cases, seasonal produce is available year-round. This can be wonderful, especially if I want fresh tomatoes and basil for that special-event hors-d’oeuvre in January. However, the further I am from the local growing season, the further I’ll be from the ultimate experience of that fruit or veggie. I find that, the more I branch out and explore new dishes using seasonal, local produce (see also: hours, not weeks, from farm to table), the more I groove on what’s coming from the ground around here. Who knew kohlrabi was so versatile? Kumquat? Why not! When a growing season is long, we may tire of the same old foods, but the glorious thing about food is it can be prepared in so many ways! You only have to type the veggie you want to cook into a recipe search (say, on eTools), and you’ll be greeted by a lovely variety of choices. Not finding a whole lot for cherimoya in eTools? Try asking Google, “How do I prepare cherimoya?” for a huge selection of recipes, articles, and, yes, YouTube videos!

How are you going to keep powering your plate as summer deepens? When you travel, how will you explore the seasonal, local offerings in your vacation spot? Tell us in the comments below!

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