Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Growing Garden and Eating with the Seasons

Our garden is coming along nicely! We have planted lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, kale, collards, beans, peas, radishes, cauliflower, cucumbers, okra, summer and winter squash, pumpkins, and a "three sisters" garden of beans, corn and squash growing together. Whew! That's a lot. The only thing still left to be put into the ground are the tomatoes and pepper plants that we started from seed. 

garden beds and cold frame- the trellis pictured here is for the cucumbers

peas are popping up

All of our gardening efforts have really got me thinking lately about trying to eat more with the seasons.  I know I have talked about this before, but I really think it is important when trying to maintain a local and wholesome foods diet, especially if you are aiming to grow as much food on your own as possible. What we can't grow ourselves, we can purchase from the local farmer's market, which always provides produce that is in season in our area. Of course, there are a lot of foods and other dry goods that you will have to purchase at your grocery store or market that you can't make on your own. I'm hoping to whittle that list down as I learn to be more self-sufficient on our little homestead. 

This bed is all ready for tomatoes and peppers to be planted

Since we are growing springtime veggies right now, our meals would revolve around produce such as lettuce and greens, kale, collards, asparagus, spring onions, snap peas, spinach, broccoli, and other crops that can tolerate colder weather. Our chickens are always laying eggs and we keep milk, cheese, free range chicken, pasta, and fresh bread on hand, so those ingredients are a staple in our diet and often contribute to our meals. So, a weekly meal plan for us in the spring might look something like this: 

-asparagus, pancetta, and cheddar quiche

-Asian chicken salad  (lettuce and greens, cut up seasoned chicken with curry powder, candied and toasted sliced almonds, mandarin oranges, spring onions, toasted sesame dressing)

-White bean, bacon, and kale soup with fresh bread

-Poached eggs over crispy marjoram toasts smothered in an herb tomato sauce

-Pecan crusted pork loins, southern spoon bread, sauteed collard greens with garlic

-chicken salad sandwiches (a mayonnaise based recipe with spinach and grapes) with raw veggies like broccoli, snap peas, and carrots

-strawberry pie

The hardest part about eating seasonally sometimes, at least for me, is giving up fruit when it is not available locally. Are you willing to do that? The earliest bearing fruits in the spring are strawberries and rhubarb. 

In the early summer and again in the late summer and fall, I will post more about how our garden harvests affect meal planning for our family, so do stay tuned.  Do you try to eat seasonally? 

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