This month marks the final installment of a “Year of Produce” in which I charted my fresh produce purchases in illustrated form for a year starting in April 2010. I was curious to see if I put my money where my mouth is about eating locally and, by definition, seasonally. Yes, 2010 was so last year. But April is so now! Which means you can start all over again if you missed the whole thing. Scroll down for March as well as a mini image of each month that links to that month’s post. Each one has some combination of recipes or recipe links, preparation ideas, thoughts on eating locally and other good stuff. So please explore!
With this final post I offer:
• A tally for the year
• Thoughts on what is local
• My observations on the project
• March recipe links
• How to eat seasonally, affordably (prompted by a question someone asked me) Read more
Getting November’s produce log done proved to be a bit of a struggle. And I can’t blame it on having to draw romanesco, the amazing whorled cousin of cauliflower (My rendition at left is proof that an accurate drawing was not the hold up.). A vendor at the farmers market was selling darling palm-sized ones and I couldn’t resist. Then I got home and remembered I had to draw it. Romanesco has a mild taste partway between broccoli and cauliflower.
My brother was the source of two tips this month. He said he once jazzed up a Christmas party crudité platter using romanesco. If you pull one apart, you’ll know why it was the perfect vegetable to use. Each spiraled cone-shaped floret looks like a miniature Christmas tree! Throw something red in there and you’ve got a festive display.
One thing about a regular, and more importantly, self-directed, non-client-based project, is that life sometimes gets in the way of getting it done. Life, in this case, was cross-country travel, getting walloped by a flu while on travel and attempting to steal moments to get this month’s produce log designed and posted. A laptop with a mouse pad next to it (I have trouble with a track pad for detailed work) does not fit on cramped airplane tray table.
Download September Fresh Eat log in high-resolution. Below are links to previous month’s logs.
Why Eating Healthily Can Be a Challenge
Life gets in the way of a lot of things while we’re living it. Eating is one of them. Or eating well, as in healthily, not fancily. In a recent New York Times article “Even Benefits Don’t Tempt Us to Vegetables,” the author reminds us what a serving is: half a cup of cut-up or cooked vegetables, one cup of fresh greens, half a cup of cooked dried beans, or, if you must, six ounces of vegetable juice.
August is the much-anticipated month for many eaters when choice is most abundant. Melons, corn, tomatoes, peaches—they almost stand alone as symbols of summer. I look outside at the gray, misty morning and, like many, wonder if that’s it for us. We are summer lovers in the Northwest but we are also rain lovers if we’re willing to admit it. A dormant part of us wants an 8-month excuse to batten down the hatches and curl up with a book, even as we the lament the coming end of sunshine.
But now is not the time for gray skies!
Below is an overview of a debate that unfolded in the press about the folly of eating locally. For recipe goodness, see previous months (links at bottom). You’ll find ideas on what to do with tomatoes, artichokes, fennel, berries, zucchini and more!
July’s produce log has proved a little challenging to get finished. I could blame it on the fact that I’m too busy eating but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Though I confess to stuffing my face with berries as you can see by my bucket ‘o blues. When people think of Oregon’s adventure sports, they think of kiteboarding in Hood River. But it’s not until you’ve been elbow deep in marionberry vines that you’ve truly experienced extreme sport. This is not an activity for wimps. This is full-metal jacket sport. But boy, is it worth it. The floral, bubble-gummy marionberry, a type of blackberry, is indeed one of the great wonders of the northwest.
If this is your first visit, you’re seeing a month-by-month log of fresh produce, with a tally to see how my local versus non-local dollars compare. See April Produce Log for an introduction to the project. Here are May and June. You can download each one as a PDF. Here is July. Each month includes recipe ideas, links and PDFs to download.
June required several new drawings as more and more produce is becoming available. The color palette is opening up, which, in addition to beautiful meals, also means a larger variety of vitamins and minerals. An Eat the Rainbow post is soon to come that explores the range of antioxidants in the many colors of foods, and their benefits.
One way I added to that rainbow was to pick 10 pounds of strawberries—practically a required summer activity in Oregon. Read more