I was struggling with this problem just the other day at the grocery store. Then in related indecent, I was at a party over the weekend and someone whipped out a Clementine for their child to snack on and it caught me totally off guard. For me, these delicious little orbs have always been synonymous with winter and the coming of the holiday season. To see one, ripe and juicy, in the middle of hotter-than-hot July, I was baffled. I felt like I needed to check the calendar. Was that nap I took on the couch really a summer hibernation?!?
This is just one illustration of how imported produce confuses and blurs the perception of what is actually currently in season in your local growing area, disconnecting us from our local growing region and the organic world in our immediate vicinity. I have been making an effort over the last few months to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables I include in my diet for several reasons; improve my overall health, develop better eating habits, support the local economy, and put myself in a position to set a good example for my child. In part, I feel we are spoiled for having such a great variety available to us at any given time, but then I am also shocked at times when I go to the store and they don’t have the fruit or vegetable I’m craving. Nothing like finding a great-looking recipe only to discover that the star ingredient isn’t really in season and will either cost me more then I want to spend on a single meal or is completely unavailable. (I’m looking at you, fresh artichokes!)
All that being said, I have a terrible memory for when specific produce items are actually in season, but leave it to the internet to have a solution! There are now several easy to use sites available that will give you lists by region and time frame as to what should be in season and available in your area. Also, it is suggested (and seems logical to me) that you can also lower your over-all grocery bill by buying in-season produce rather then more expensive imported out-of-season items. Not to say you shouldn’t give in to that Christmas-in-July Clementine craving, but you might end up paying a lot more for the privilege in Summer.