Dreaming of Spring
The weather in Nashville has been unseasonable warm this winter. I think the high today is around 62 degrees. I have found myself having Spring fever. Cleaning out my house, desperately needing a road trip, driving with the windows down, and reminiscing about old high school days of skipping class at the first sign of sunny weather. However, it is still winter.
For someone who eats locally, this is very frustrating. I want to see all the Spring produce waiting for me at the Market, but alas it’s more cabbage and more turnips. I think this is the first year that I have really been conscious of eating locally during the winter, and I’ve got to be honest – it kind of sucks. Sure I canned tomatoes last summer, froze corn and strawberries, but it’s just not the same. I’m not seasoned enough to know all the little tips on how to get through the winter. Perhaps I need to re-read Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.) and get some inspiration. It’s times like this where I envy those who live on the West Coast and have access to so much all year round.
This winter, I have found myself increasingly shopping more at our local Whole Foods grocery store. It’s such an odd feeling every time I walk in there, I feel as though I am cheating. I try my best to buy only what is in season - kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, beets and citrus. No tomatoes or berries. Allowing myself to eat seasonal food that doesn’t come from a local farm still doesn’t feel right, but I’m gradually giving myself permission during the winter. I dream of the Spring farmers market season, and my body is craving it. For now I am learning how to incorporate local food into a dish with other items. Last night I made pearled cous cous with sugar snap peas, shallots, thyme and added local butternut squash. It was a delicious dish that symbolized a healthy compromise of using some local items, and some store bought items. I also find it helpful to frequent restaurants that source locally because it gives me inspiration for what I can prepare at home. Soon enough it will be Spring, and I’ll be sick of stuffing my face with fresh local strawberries… ahhh…a girl can dream right?