Pairing seasonality with regionality for a more nuanced understanding of what eating local looks like.
Love that I immediately know that the "don't buy tomatoes in winter" line is the very Pollan-influenced PS on the last page of McFadden's Six Seasons. I love the recipes in that damn book but every time there is a hint of personality it's nails on a chalkboard for me. One comment about manly salads is too many.
Thanks for another wonderful essay, Alicia! Loved the thoughts from Abra, and any encouragement to think more broadly than the mainstream encourages us to.
I loved reading this! Berens' perspective resonates so much with me, even just based on our geographic proximity. In early summer, so many people in Wisconsin get very excited about the Tree Ripe Fruit Company truck coming to town loaded with Georgia peaches. While, yes, the first peaches of the year ARE exciting, Wisconsin yields its own a couple of months later. To me, waiting a little longer makes the local peach harvest feel all the more special and enjoyable. Parts of Wisconsin have become wine-making regions recently, too. I reminded my mother-in-law that grape harvesting season is just about to start here, to which she replied that you can get grapes at the store year-round. So much of what has potential to grow here is overshadowed by big-ag growers in California, Mexico, South America!
Yes! Thank you. The dominance of New England in our cultural lexicon is so strong. I grew up in North Dakota, where spring and fall were extremely short and the winters were very long and cold. Local foods, especially fruits, were kind of limited in any season other than high summer, and even then August was usually exceptionally hot and dry. But I think that's why North Dakotans have such strong feelings about rhubarb and chokecherries. When I moved to New York for school, I had to adjust my ideas of what could be planted in the garden (no more restrictions to zones 3 and 4!) and what was in season.
I'd be interested to see how Michigan and New Jersey compare in terms of agricultural diversity, since Jersey is famously the "Garden State."
I'm new to foodwriting; reviving my mom's vintage food-letter this year has been entertaining in its own way. I appreciate how your words and topics continue to expand my often-simplistic views on food. Every post brings me closer to the uncomfortable spaces I had no desire to occupy, until now.
As a farmer in Puerto Rico it is so validating to read that you are only seeing crap tomatoes, as we are currently growing some crap tomatoes (and beautiful other things). The summer sunburn really got all of us without shade houses this year!
Terrific newsletter, as per 'the uzh' :) After reading it, I was struck by how many thinkers/writers/activists you've introduced me to: Abra Berens, Aja Barber, Tove Ditlevsen, Carol J. Adams . . . and I know there's more. I find your work incredibly valuable and am so grateful for it. And I read your book! Brilliant! I know this is all very fan-girly, but it's the only place to let you know :) Carry on, young warrior 💜
I'm happy I don't live anywhere near you, Alicia...I'm confident I would follow you around, hoping to have some of your brilliant writing seep into my veins...
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and using your voice...