Now that I've finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life", I have the desire to grow a garden, raise some chickens and maybe even a pig. To be honest, that's been a thought in the back of my mind for a while now, but reading this book just intensified it. This book is sort of a memoir of the year Kingsolver and her family set out to only buy local food, grow it themselves or do without. It was a very enlightening read in so many ways--not only in the area of gardening or raising your own food but also on the bigger picture of food production in this country.
One of the big things about eating locally or growing your own food is eating in season. Obviously, not everything is going to be growing or ripe all the time. Here in Montana there is no way I could go down to my in-law's garden and harvest some tomatoes if I felt like it in the middle of February. Tomatoes are not in season in February. Not much here is, actually. But Kingsolver and family talk about how eating "in season" will help keep grocery money in your local area, supports local farmers and provides you with the best tasting option. I remember first learning about this "in season" thing in college. One of my best friends and roommates was from an area of Washington state known for it's apple production, and it was from her I learned that apples are best eaten in fall and early winter when they have just ripened and been plucked from the tree. October apples and March apples are vastly different in quality and taste.
It's not practical on so many levels for me to have a mini-farm right now, although it's both Erik's and my dream to someday "get outta town", so someday. But for right now, I would like to make an effort to eat more "in season". Part of the challenge, for me at least, in that is educating myself on what is even in season and when. Kingsolver talks about a "vegetannual", which she describes as an imaginary plant that bears over the course of one growing season all the different veggies we can harvest. You get a feel for what has its season when throughout her book, but I also found this great website that has an interactive 'vegetannual'. Being able to play around with it helped me remember each veggies' season. You should check it out, it's kinda fun! :-)
So, this was a good, informative and entertaining book that I'd recommend if you have any interest in food, gardening or eating.