by Heather C.
My first experience with the concept of eating seasonally and locally was with sweet corn. I came from a corn growing area where stands sprouted on roadsides when the crop was ready. You gorged yourself because when it was gone it was gone. No grocery store carried corn on the cob. When I went to school in TN I found corn on the cob in the store. I was so excited that I could eat it more often. But it tasted awful. I thought I cooked it wrong but soon realized that that was the difference between fresh from the farm and store-bought.
I did the Eat Local challenge in August last year. That changed my way of thinking about food. I live in central Ohio surrounded by corn fields but never explored the food sources in my area.
I found many small farm stores in my area and a few small farmer's markets. I had planted a garden three years earlier when we moved here but found out that my ambition outweighed my talent and enthusiasm for gardening. Last August when I was looking for local food my garden was sitting empty.
My interest didn't end when the challenge did. I'm much more aware now of where my food is coming from. I've found it sad that other people just don't "get it" when I discuss this with them. I've developed a strange interest in canning and freezing. I've also planned to restart my garden on a more manageable scale. Today I planted two dwarf apple trees. Hopefully they will be the start of a small fruit orchard.
So what will be available in May in Ohio? Not much unless you love lettuce. The official frost free date here is May 15. The farm stores in my area are opening on the first Saturday in May. I did just get a recipe for dandelion jelly. I considered making it because it is the one plant that we have growing in abundance here but I hardly ever use jelly. I found some mint growing in my garden today. So far that's it around here.
My goals for the challenge?
- Find a consistent source for free-range eggs.
- Start my garden
- Find a freezer for preserving food this summer
- I want to be surprised by the variety of food I find in May.
I'm not holding my breath on the last one but I'm hoping!!
Heather C. lives in rural central Ohio. She writes Based On A True Story...