Right now is the perfect time to talk about what it means to eat seasonally. Tomatoes are just starting to come in. If there is a fruit or vegetable (however you prefer to categorize them) that most of us eat throughout the year, in season or out, it is probably the tomato. How many of you buy those packs of Del Cabo cherry tomatoes for your salads in the dead of winter, or the hydroponically grown “tomatoes on the vine”? They are organic, sure, but out of season. They never taste as good as a true "vine ripened in the heat of the sun in the middle of summer" tomato, and yet we buy them any way.
Walk through Whole Foods, at least the ones that have a decent produce department, and chances are you will find peaches, nectarines, plums and strawberries all year round. I realize many of you might be thinking right about now, what is wrong with any of that? Here’s the thing, a year comes in seasons, and we have blurred all of those lines, almost to the point of no season at all.
In Germany the month of May is Spargel Zeit (Asparagus Season) and every restaurant goes crazy with a second menu of just asparagus dishes. There is tremendous excitement and honor for this food. Eat it while it is in season and eat loads of it because now is when it tastes the best. The same holds true for most produce. Having access to anything, anytime has stolen that excitement from us. We should be excited that the first summer tomatoes are here and then eat ourselves sick until the season is over. This prepares us for the next season’s glorious food, and typically nature has designed things so that those foods serve us better when eaten at the appropriate time. When your eating habit follows the season chances are you will get food that is more local and typically a lot fresher. I could write at length about the importance of eating as local as possible but you are already doing that.
So when you sit down with your first tomatoes this year I hope you really enjoy them and know that as the season progresses they will taste better and better. And for you eggplant lovers (as I am) eggplant and peppers are just around the corner!