One Winter, when Duncan was a very little boy riding in the market basket I was pushing at our local farm store, he said, “Mama, can we get some grapes?”
We had just passed by a small display of precious green and red globes…totally out of season…totally pricey.
I didn’t realize it then, but I was trying as much as possible to feed my family seasonally and as locally as possible. Then, we didn’t call it “The Hundred Mile Diet”. We just ate what was available. In Western Washington it’s possible to have something fresh nearly all year round.
But, grapes? Well, they don’t grow in Washington in January, or February, or even March. Their window is in the Fall. And, the ones that we were looking at were not local but shipped from somewhere far, far away.
“Let’s get them when our local grapes are in season, sweetie” and we went on to buy some winter squashes.
Grapes had now became a much anticipated treat, rather than something that we could get any time. When the local grape season rolled around, indeed we bought and brought some home and enjoyed every sweet bite of them. Maybe because we had waited for them, is what made them taste so sweet!
Starting in the late Spring, The Seasonal Fruit Pie Year (for me) goes something like this:
- Stone fruit (apricot, peach, plum)
- Squash (including pumpkin)
- and rounding out in the Winter and Early Spring with, what I call, “The Frozen Fruit Season” when I use what I’ve put up in my freezer from my own little garden, bounty from friends, and farmers markets.
Some years, I’m not able to get everything I’m hoping for…the weather plays a part here, too. For example, if a farmer has a bad year, I may miss out on special heritage apples, as happened in 2013 when hail storms badly battered apples on the small 8-acre orchard of one of my favorite small growers making it impossible for ANY of their apples to come to market. I missed out on Cox Orange Pippins, Ashmead’s Kernels, Golden Russets and countless others that I love to put in my apple pies.
But, what this makes me realize is how much I look forward to the seasonality of these fruits. They become so special to me…like much honored guests coming to visit.