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Tasty adventures in local, seasonal food

Posted Thursday, September 13th, 2012 by Erin


As a dedicated foodie and St. Louis native, I was delighted to read the recently published “Missouri Harvest: A Guide to Growers and Producers in the Show-Me State,” written by Maddie Earnest, owner of the Local Harvest Cafe and Grocery, and Liz Fatham, Publications Manager at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  The book explores sustainable local farms throughout Missouri, as well as the joys of eating locally-sourced foods as they come into season.

In Wednesday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Fatham discusses the “surprising adventure” of eating local, seasonal produce:

“I made a decision one day to wrap my head around the fact that food comes in seasons, to go with the flow,” Fathman said of her surprising adventure. “It changed my eating habits a lot. I enjoy cooking more. I enjoy cooking for people more, because I love figuring out what we have.”  Read the entire article here.

A couple years ago, I was fortunate enough to pick up another book with a similar message -  “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” a memoir by Barbara Kingsolver.  The book describes the year after Kingsolver and her family move from Arizona, a state without many resources for local farming, to their own farm in Virginia.  For an entire year, the family eats nothing but the food that they either grow themselves, or that they receive from neighbors.  Although the effort proves to be challenging at times, it brings the family closer together in a number of ways and helps them develop an appreciation for the natural cycle of the growing season.

After reading this book, my life completely changed.  I started gardening, and now experience the joy and excitement of watching my own food grow.  I joined a CSA, and receive amazing new fruits and vegetables each week as the growing season changes.  I attend farmers’ markets, and I not only get to see my closest friends, but I also get to know the farmers that grow my food.  My boyfriend and I rarely go out to eat anymore*, instead creating exciting new ways of enjoying our favorites like sungold tomatoes, fresh oyster mushrooms, acorn squash, dinosaur kale, and sunflower sprouts.  The daunting (and often stressful) task of grocery shopping and trying to come up with something new to fix has transformed into the most treasured and enjoyable part of my week.  And I grow increasingly encouraged that more people like me are coming around as I see the farmers’ markets packed each week.

Food is definitely something everyone can appreciate and enjoy.  Lucky for us, we live in Missouri, and have access to some of the most delicious foods produced right here at home.  If you need some inspiration, I’d highly recommend checking out “Missouri Harvest” and join us at the farmers’ market!

*There is always exceptions to this, particularly as Slow Food St. Louis’ Art of Food approaches.  Buy your tickets now for this amazing event that celebrates locally-produced art and food!

- Erin McAllister
St. Louis Green Staff

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