Seasonal Doesn’t Mean Local

My refrigerator is filled with seasonal food — by which I mean food that is ready for harvest now in the northeast where I live (or is harvested earlier and stored) — yet only a fraction of it actually comes from local sources.

tart

Beets are in season in the northeast, but I had to make this beet, goat cheese and walnut tart for Thanksgiving with wilty, store-bought beets that came from parts unknown. Happily, the cheese was local, as were the eggs. Great recipe, by the way, from Gordon Hamersley’s Bistro Cooking at Home.

This is one of the things I find most frustrating about the food business. Most supermarkets do not make a point of purchasing local food in season. The broccoli in our market, for instance, almost always comes from California — even in the fall when it is broccoli season here. So, if I want local broccoli, I have to go to the Greenmarket. And I do go whenever I can. But if I can’t make it on the two days a week the Greenmarket comes to my neighborhood, I am out of luck.

That doesn’t mean there is no local food in our supermarket. The situation is better than it used to be — especially since a Whole Foods moved in nearby, presenting competition. Today, for instance, I managed to snag local greens, apple cider and half-and-half. As I said, better than before, but not good enough.

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