Saturday, December 22, 2007

Celebrate Winter Solstice with Winter Produce

Today is the Winter Solstice. This is the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, and the first "official" day of winter.

Despite it being the shortest day of the year, the good news is that every day from now until late June, the days get longer until we reach the summer solstice.

It’s also traditionally considered a "pagan" celebration so that's probably why it's so appealing to me, (not surprising for those who know City Farm Girl).

In all seriousness, I think I like to observe all of the natural rhythms of the seasons because it's a reminder that since ancient times, we have been dependent upon them, they have determined what can grow when and where, and what we eat.

Sadly, we have lost that. We shouldn't be able to eat stone fruit (i.e., nectarines, peaches, plums) in winter if we live in the northern hemisphere, they don't grow here. But, we have disrupted nature's rhythms out of convenience and our ability to "control" it. It just makes me wonder though, but at what cost? That's why for me, it's nice to take a day like winter solstice to remember how things are truly meant to be.

And following the seasons doesn't mean we won't have good produce to eat. Just because we can't get peaches, etc. now, there are actually some produce favorites coming into season now so watch for some of these items at your local farmers' market.

As winter arrives you will find apples, pears, and citrus varieties including navel and blood oranges, tangerines, and tangelos, as well as greens including kale, kohlrabi, cabbage, chard, broccoli, and lettuce, spinach, and turnip. Through the end of the year, you can also still find kiwifruit, cherimoyas, almonds, walnuts, and dates.

Don’t forget that produce availability, variety, and yield are based on California growing seasons, the weather, and amount of rainfall each year.

Another way we live with the seasons.

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