Eating seasonally and locally is a bit of a buzz-phrase these days with plenty of folks embracing the challenge but for a lot of us, this is simply the only way we know to eat. Beyond the hype, the benefits for both individuals and the community are huge when one chooses to eat as seasonally as possible and as a fish and farm centered community, we are lucky to be in Tillamook County when the question of seasonality comes up.
When it comes to knowing what’s freshest and when, you probably instinctively know - tender and sweet greens, radishes, rhubarb, and asparagus come to harvest in the spring bringing fresh flavor and the reminder that sun is on it’s way! June through September is by far the best time of the year for fresh produce as berries bring color and sweetness and the June heat rolls in. Tomatoes and beans follow as June turns into July and fruit trees begin offering their abundanc with cherries and stone fruits ripenening, turning to apples and pears as the summer winds down.
If you’ve tried a tomato straight off the vine or the crunch of a freshly harvested carrot, you know just how good freshly harvested produce can be. And beyond the celebration of flavor that comes with a straight-off-the-vine tomato, you’re helping eliminate pesticide consumption from larger, non-organic practicing farms, reduce your carbon footprint through locally eating, and you’ll be getting more nutrients that your body craves. It’s no coincidence that after a long, cold winter, the earth provides dark, leafy greens packed with vitamin C, iron, and antioxidants.
As the weather cools in October and November, cabbage and brussels sprouts are their sweetest, winter squashes harden off, and raspberries push out their final fruits. Come December, farmers are covering their soil and hardening off storage veggies like potatoes, squashes, and garlic. While it can be tough to eat seasonally in the winter, carrots and greens can last almost year round if frost stays at bay to give us an opportunity at harvest even in the darkest months.
For further learning on eating seasonally,I recommend Deep Economy by Bill McKibben for a deep dive into the ways eating locally and seasonally can have major impacts on both our local and global economies. For your new go-to seasonal cook book, check out a copy of Six Seasons by Josua McFadden - try the pasta with kale sauce for a quick weeknight recipe. Eating seasonally can definitely be a shift in your routine and diet but the benefits truly are worth the effort.
Tillamook County is ripe with opportunity for farming and bountiful harvests, but without community participation and purchasing, our farmers have limited resources to plant more varieties, experiment with new crops, and succession plant. The viability of their farms and their lifestyles depends on all of us to look locally when we purchase and to buy the amazing products that have helped bring to market. Help our farmers understand the wants of their buyers (you!) by filling out this short survey and letting them know what you want to see more of!