“Is May the month of Hope? Well, I think yes!”
– The Uphill Skater –
I often think the guy who wrote “June is Bustin’ Out All Over” made a mistake. It is really May that busts out. My daffodils are up and shaking their little yellow heads, the leaves are out on the trees and the weather has taken a decided turn for the better. The good eats opportunities have also taken a turn for the better, and the chances of fresh produce are looking very good.
There has been so much pesticide information out there lately, I am going to skip rehashing it. We all know to wash fruits with skins, and peel fruits with clean hands. One of my favorites is grapes. I love the seedless green ones, and I think they are finally getting sweeter like they used to be. You may notice the skins are thicker and that is because most are now picked by machine, and they have been genetically modified to develop thicker skins so they will not bruise. This kind of GMO is harmless. I cut the big green grapes in half when I give them to my grandson. I think he might not be able to chew a big grape, and I know this is a bit paranoid, but I am a granny, so I can do it if I want to!
I am not on alert about genetic modifications like some people because that process is frequently and carefully used to improve taste, quality, and even nutritional value of foods. Yes, I know tomatoes have thick skins and don’t taste like you remember, so give the little colored tomatoes a try. They are delicious. Yes, they are real tomatoes. I buy vine tomatoes, and I know they are not all from here, but they are also not all bruised up and soggy either. Pretty soon we will be picking our own tomatoes or buying at farmer’s markets.
Local farmer’s markets are the very best way to buy produce, and this year I vow to somehow keep those wonderful fresh items through the winter. I do freeze vegetables and some fruits, but I have never “canned” like some people do. A lady at my church makes small blueberry pies and freezes tons of them to eat for breakfast, lunch, snack, brown bag or just sitting by the freezer. (I have very low standards when it comes to homemade little blueberry pies, and I will eat one at every opportunity!) Anyway you can preserve the bounty is all to the good. I have nothing against bought frozen vegetables, mind you, but it is somehow satisfying to do this one’s self. It is kind of a self-sufficiency thing, or return to the farm or something. I don’t know what, but I really like to do it.
I also find it not only a lot of fun but very satisfying to pick. There are many opportunities all over to pick your own. Strawberries to daffodils are there to be picked. A farmer’s market near me has blueberry bushes you can pick from and this is a hoot. I can tell you it takes a while to pick enough to make something besides blueberry pancakes. Try the pick your own places and if you possibly can, take the kids. It does them good to see food actually comes out of the ground, not off the shelves. We also go to a place called Ole McDonald’s Farm and they have cows, chickens, pigs, and on and on. The kids even get to see eggs in the chicken’s nest. I can tell you that my little grandson was absolutely shocked to see where the eggs came from. I tried to break it to him gently—no pun intended.
I know this is not exactly produce, but I am now also watching where my cheese and butter comes from. I bought some swiss cheese at the deli the other day and the clerk told me it came from France. I asked her if she had any local cheeses, and yes, there were many choices for interesting and yummy locally made cheeses—cow cheese, goat cheese, and even some local sheep cheese. It had a bite and a bit of a funny flavor, but I liked it. There are many Made in the USA butters, too. Our American farm economy is very strong and gives us wonderful foods. We are so very lucky.
Check out www.skatinguphill.com for more info on different types of produce and other products grown in the USA. Eat well; Live Well.
with ideas, questions, or suggestions. Love, Judith