Customers are conditioned to shopping at grocery stores where they can buy blueberries in December and tomatoes in May. So they arrive at our June Farmer’s Market asking for tomatoes, not understanding ‘seasonality’ of food grown in our temperate climate.
I explained to one customer that I have tomato plants, that they have yellow flowers on them and won’t fruit until a month or so from now.
Most Gardeners can’t take summer vacations, for some fruit of the harvest might be ready for picking. Peas and beans and tomatoes need picking immediately when they are ready; can’t wait a week! Root crops can wait a little while in the ground.
Grocery stores and Greenhouses have stolen the idea of ‘seasonality’ from our minds. Only farmers and gardeners understand that concept, unless they garden in greenhouses where they might harvest tomatoes and lettuces and carrots year round.
Huge in-door chicken pens and Barns have stolen the idea of ‘seasonality.’ Seasonality is important in raising pastured chicken meat and pastured grass-finished beef. Chickens can’t eat grass on snow-covered fields and Broilers would freeze on the ground in winter, so we only sell ‘fresh’ chicken meat in summer. We can still raise pastured hens all year long, for they do go outside in winter and we can supplement kelp in their feed when green grass is lacking.
Beef meat is best harvested after they’ve eaten the Spring and Summer herbs and green grasses instead of the Winter hay. Then we also like to ‘marble’ the beef with annual plants at the end of the growing season, and we can only do that in August-September-October, which is why we sell beef in the Fall months.
If you shop at local farms, know that strawberries are available in June, blueberries in July, peaches in August, peas in June, potatoes in September, chicken meat in Summer, and beef in Fall. Eggs are available all year round but quantity is higher in Summer.
Think ‘seasons’ in food consumption! We’ve learned to use dehydrated greens (kale, beet greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, celery greens, herbs) in our Winter cuisine, not shopping for salads all year long. Then it’s a treat when leaf lettuce appears every Spring.