Friday, January 1, 2016

One Food Resolution You Should Consider for The New Year.....

Happy new year to everyone! As we say Good-bye to 2015 and welcome 2016, it's a perfect time to review the good about the past year and identify things to improve for the new year.

If there is one food resolution which has been near and dear to my heart for over 4 years now is to eat more home-cooked meals and buy locally and seasonally grown food as much as possible. The later facilitates former to a large extent.

This is our fifth year of exclusively sourcing all the produce from local farmer's markets and eating seasonal, and I am so happy that we stuck with this path for as long! It has so many tangible and intangible benefits to health and lifestyle!

Before global transportation was as pervasive (think our grandparent's generation), eating local and seasonal is what everyone did. You ate apples in fall, squashes and tomatoes in summer and strawberries in spring - it was all part of enjoying the season. And you preserved or pickled seasonal vegetables to enjoy year-around..

Then happened global transportation boom and food industrialization - both resulted in foods being easily transportable 100's of miles from their original picking destination to being shipped to opposite parts of the worlds for consumers to enjoy year-around. Not only it's taxing to the environment but it also causes foods to be picked ahead of ripening resulting in more use of pesticides or preservatives and compromised taste.

The best way to start buying local and seasonal is to visit your local farmer's markets or be part of local CSA or co-ops which will deliver a basket of locally grown seasonal produce right to your door-steps.

There are innumerable advantages of eating locally and seasonally. 
  • First, you are eating produce picked right at it's peaks within hours of being picked. Not only it is fresh, it also tastes so much better! 
  • You will help local farmer's eco-system and sustainable growing practices
  • Fruits and produce bought seasonally is often cheaper purely due supply and demand helping you save $$
  • And the weekly ritual of visiting farmer's markets, choosing through rows and rows of freshly picked produce can be so therapeutic and if kids are part of it right from their childhood, I do believe they are naturally grown towards eating more vegetables and eating healthier!
There are also some challenges to seasonal/local eating and here are some tips I found useful over the years:
  • Seasonal can often mean repetition - you end up buying same vegetables weeks in a row because that's what is in season. But then, this is your chance to be creative in kitchen! Google various ways to cook with that vegetable and experiment with a new one every week - who knows, you will find a keeper recipe somewhere in there that you didn't even know about!
  • How do you know what's in season - there are great resources online or visiting farmer's markets is a more fun way to find out for yourself :)
  • Access to locally grown seasonal food - farmer's markets, CSAs, produce co-ops or even some supermarkets now-a-days carry local seasonal produce marked as such!
In this day and age of genetically modified everything and food industrialization, I truly feel that eating local and seasonal is a small step in the right direction, for our health, for our local farming ecosystem and for the environment! 

I get to talk to the farmer's who grow our vegetables on our plates everyday and I know I am doing my part in developing the local sustainable ecosystem, but really the main reason I eat local/seasonal is the taste, there is just no comparison to food with 1000's of food miles -- just try your local farmer's market next time and see it for yourself!
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This is a web catalog of the recipes that I have tried and tasted in my kitchen. While these recipes and instructions have worked well for me, please use all the information and the recipes from Ginger and Garlic at your own risk.