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In praise of out-of-season fruit


Fat Guy
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I like seasonal produce for the same reason I like brothy light soups in summer and thick, creamy soups in winter. I like tartness and spicy heat in warmer weather while I prefer something smooth and lusciously fattening when its cold. It is much more simple than transportation logistics, global economics and food politics. It is about tastebuds, cravings that coincide with seasons/weather etc.

just my 2c. ymmv.

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The twenty foot icicle is still hanging there.

During the brief periods of daylight it has rainbows in it.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Yes, yes, I know "fresh, seasonal and local" is all the rage. Apparently even Canadians think it's a good idea, and they have eleven months of winter.

So, I will be enjoying my cherries from Chile via Costco all week, and I hope the rest of you enjoy an eight-course tasting of winter root vegetables every night.

Taking a page from the production of ice wine in these chilly northern precincts, as well as the enormous popularity of Siberian peach pie over the past few years, Canadians have taken matters into their own hands. Leaving our stone fruit up in the orchards until freeze-up (in late August, as Steven helpfully points out), has led to a boon in winter ice fruit production: apricots and peaches predominate the market.

The methodology parallels that of our acclaimed ice wines and is strictly controlled by the Ministry of Agriculture. The fruit must freeze naturally to minus 8 degrees Celsius for 48 continuous hours. The fruit is then picked and its concentrated essence separated from the frozen water. The resultant fruit (pulp and chunks) is then made into pies, fruit leathers or refreshing winter bellinis.

Although production is still low, this initiative has resolved how always gracious Canadians can still eat 'local and seasonal' (if not exactly fresh), support our local farmers and avoid feeling vaguely like a military junta whenever we eat cherries. The concentrated flavour is its own reward; the fruit is said to have the lighthearted intensity of your own Kelly Ripa.

Sorry to hear about the anesthesia.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Living your life in the Midwest (and many other parts of the US) and eating only the local and seasonal produce means you would never taste oranges or any other citrus fruit, artichokes, avocadoes, almonds, bananas...the list is endless.  I never saw a raw fig until I was almost 40.  Pass the cherries.

i just had a thought. maybe if seasonal produce wasnt so cheap, americans will travel more? travel can be mind expanding, you know.

i have no problem with non seasonal produce costing an arm and a leg out of season. it is quite simply perverse that they are available so cheap.

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Living your life in the Midwest (and many other parts of the US) and eating only the local and seasonal produce means you would never taste oranges or any other citrus fruit, artichokes, avocadoes, almonds, bananas...the list is endless.  I never saw a raw fig until I was almost 40.  Pass the cherries.

i just had a thought. maybe if seasonal produce wasnt so cheap, americans will travel more? travel can be mind expanding, you know.

i have no problem with non seasonal produce costing an arm and a leg out of season. it is quite simply perverse that they are available so cheap.

That's not a bad idea.

You can buy produce from evil agribusiness co-conspirators at a market in the Peruvian Andes...

gallery_10138_538_1105522375.jpg

Delight in some numbing but energizing coca tea (I didn't swallow :laugh: ) with a little sugar at the Los Perros Couch Bar in Cuzco...

gallery_10138_538_1105911396.jpg

Munch on huge "popcorn" in downtown La Paz, Bolivia...

gallery_10138_538_1105911423.jpg

And drop down to Santiago, Chile, to snack on cherries and to pick up a a lovely Pinochet mug you can take to Starbucks to fill with your morning java...

gallery_10138_538_1105910444.jpg

Edited by esvoboda (log)
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Mozz and tomato in December, less than lovely.

Yes.

But one does what one can.

The buffalo mozz can always be fresh. And lovely with sun-dried or roasted tomatoes.

But since, here, the only things seasonal are ice, snow, grey slush, and frost-bitten flesh, a woody tomato is the best most people can do with, I hope it's enjoyed and treated well.

Most people in this world cannot eat anything at all except each other if "eat seasonally and buy locally" is taken not just a general suggestion (which I apply when I can) but as a doctrine.

There is absolutely nothing growing here except in industrial agro hydroponic factories and mushroom farms. So I'm glad of anything that is edible and will pick the best of what can be had.

edit:

Personally, I'm much more interested in people knowing who makes their sausages or tofu or butchers their pork and such or getting jiggy with their fish monger.

Edited by Jinmyo (log)

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Yes, yes, I know "fresh, seasonal and local" is all the rage. Apparently even Canadians think it's a good idea, and they have eleven months of winter.

So, I will be enjoying my cherries from Chile via Costco all week, and I hope the rest of you enjoy an eight-course tasting of winter root vegetables every night.

Taking a page from the production of ice wine in these chilly northern precincts, as well as the enormous popularity of Siberian peach pie over the past few years, Canadians have taken matters into their own hands. Leaving our stone fruit up in the orchards until freeze-up (in late August, as Steven helpfully points out), has led to a boon in winter ice fruit production: apricots and peaches predominate the market.

The methodology parallels that of our acclaimed ice wines and is strictly controlled by the Ministry of Agriculture. The fruit must freeze naturally to minus 8 degrees Celsius for 48 continuous hours. The fruit is then picked and its concentrated essence separated from the frozen water. The resultant fruit (pulp and chunks) is then made into pies, fruit leathers or refreshing winter bellinis.

Although production is still low, this initiative has resolved how always gracious Canadians can still eat 'local and seasonal' (if not exactly fresh), support our local farmers and avoid feeling vaguely like a military junta whenever we eat cherries. The concentrated flavour is its own reward; the fruit is said to have the lighthearted intensity of your own Kelly Ripa.

Sorry to hear about the anesthesia.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

As it's clear that Steven is on a Chilean cherry run (or is that trot?), Deborah, I made some hasty calls up to the Okanagan Valley to see if this methodology might be extended to other tree fruits.

I called the 'Big O' Organic Farms and spoke to proprietor Donald Hough, who, given the recent chilly weather, had his feet up on the stove and an Old Style in hand. He had time to talk. The conversation went something like this (NB: Non-Canadian readers, please try to read this with accents from the movie "Fargo" except slightly different:

"Hello, Don, and Happy New Year. It's Jamie here, eh."

"And Happy New Year to you, eh! Are you oot and aboot?"

"So Don, with your recent successes with the OK Valley Ice Fruit, any chance you'll be adding others, like say, cherries? We have a friend in New York who likes to eat them in the wintertime. "

"Sure we could fix him up."

"Could you have some ready next week?"

"I'll send you an order form, eh. Liquid nitrogen Gel-Paks are $2,500 each though."

"What will you call them? The cherries I mean."

"The missus and I are playing with that. 'Cuz of the Strike, we kinda like the Don Cherry."

"Check that, eh!"

So looks like we're all in luck just as soon as FedEx can get a load off. Please take care unpacking.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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"The missus and I are playing with that. 'Cuz of the Strike, we kinda like the Don Cherry."

:laugh::laugh:

Now if only you could have worked the word organ-EYE-zation into the conversation.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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agriculture is a zero-sum game

There's no fresh fruits or vegetables in PA right now, so I doubt the bananas I bought yesterday are taking money out of the pockets of my local farmers.

Unless you think the agriculture market is totally static, which judging by the diets of just about everyone I know, myself included, isn't true, it's not necessarily true that new produce displaces old produce.

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When I woke up this morning it was -34 C. What exactly grows locally?

I think if you live in an area where it is possible to eat things seasonally and locally, more power to you. But since we grow potatoes and ... well.... potatoes here - I say eat what you want, wherever it's from.

Having said that, for the first time ever, I saw apricots in the grocery store in January. I actually looked twice at them - but the $5.99/lb told me that I wasn't that desperate. (the grapes, nectarines and apples will do for now)

Oh wait, I had some strawberries last week and they were much better than the ones I had during the summer. They must be bringing them in from a tastier place now.

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I called the 'Big O' Organic Farms and spoke to proprietor Donald Hough, who, given the recent chilly weather, had his feet up on the stove and an Old Style in hand.

No doubt that would be a holdover stubby Old Style...and when he's finished it, our Don'll be off to the minor-junior pro-am invitational bonspiel.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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The East Coast of the United States is a bit longer than the West Coast, but if you take New York City to Florida you have roughly the span of Seattle to Southern California. By the standard most West Coast people use to describe "local" produce, anything I can get from Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, etc., is equally "local" to me. So the Californians needn't pity the New Yorkers -- most anything that can grow in Southern California can grow just fine in Florida, and so on up through the latitudes. Nor is the superiority of West Coast produce something I'd take for granted: Indian River citrus, Vidalia onions, Georgia peaches (not to mention Ohio peaches, grown just 9 hours by car from New York City), tomatoes from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, apples from throughout the Northeast, and many other East Coast crops are world class and if you talk to the chefs who travel the world in search of the best they'll tell you some of these products are the best of their kind. However, I see no moral superiority in a New Yorker buying citrus from Florida as opposed to from California. The Florida citrus may taste better, but I don't see it as any more local to me than anyplace else. The world is a small place these days.

Nonetheless, we have no cherries right now on either coast. I just finished the last of my five pounds of cherries. I may need to return to Costco tomorrow for another box.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I called the 'Big O' Organic Farms and spoke to proprietor Donald Hough, who, given the recent chilly weather, had his feet up on the stove and an Old Style in hand.

No doubt that would be a holdover stubby Old Style...and when he's finished it, our Don'll be off to the minor-junior pro-am invitational bonspiel.

Don Hough totally loves the tiny bubbles in the stubby. Especially at Prospera between the first and second, eh? And your darn right about the bonspiel--Don represented Canada in Extreme Curling at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I just finished the last of my five pounds of cherries. I may need to return to Costco tomorrow for another box.

On the trot, no doubt.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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The East Coast of the United States is a bit longer than the West Coast, but if you take New York City to Florida you have roughly the span of Seattle to Southern California. By the standard most West Coast people use to describe "local" produce, anything I can get from Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, etc., is equally "local" to me. So the Californians needn't pity the New Yorkers -- most anything that can grow in Southern California can grow just fine in Florida, and so on up through the latitudes. Nor is the superiority of West Coast produce something I'd take for granted: Indian River citrus, Vidalia onions, Georgia peaches (not to mention Ohio peaches, grown just 9 hours by car from New York City), tomatoes from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, apples from throughout the Northeast, and many other East Coast crops are world class and if you talk to the chefs who travel the world in search of the best they'll tell you some of these products are the best of their kind. However, I see no moral superiority in a New Yorker buying citrus from Florida as opposed to from California. The Florida citrus may taste better, but I don't see it as any more local to me than anyplace else. The world is a small place these days.

Nonetheless, we have no cherries right now on either coast. I just finished the last of my five pounds of cherries. I may need to return to Costco tomorrow for another box.

I could not say it better myself

When it comes to fruit; there is so much out there, you walk into the grocery store, look at what you buy, where is it from, how much??, what does it look like??, we all can get info on places and their seasons, combined with your eye, and the calendar, we all have tell tale signs of what is in and what is not.

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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What's interesting to me is the argument that local always tastes better. I believe that is true in some cases, but not in others. For example, I grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado, famous for its peaches. I would go with my Mom and sisters to pick the peaches off of the trees and she would can and freeze huge amounts. They were wonderful and I've never eaten a peach from anywhere that even comes close in flavor or texture (unless, of course, it's local). Same with apricots. (I'm sure the reason being that the fruit just DOES NOT travel when it's ripe so it must be picked early, as another posted noted.) Cherries, on the other hand, are a different story. We would also pick cherries most summers, and I took my kids to a u-pick place a couple of summers ago. The cherries were wonderful. I noticed the cherries from Chile at Safeway about a week ago, and because the price was good, I gave them a try. They were delicious, very sweet. Maybe they were just a touch less sweet than the ones we had picked off of the tree, but the difference was so small I wouldn't be able to detect it without eating them side-by-side.

So, I also say pass the cherries.

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What's interesting to me is the argument that local always tastes better. 

So, I also say pass the cherries.

A leading imperative of our 'local, seasonal' mantra, especially during the 90s, was focussed through the prism of what we ate in restaurants. Every major city chef in North America rediscovered the provenance of the local larder, even if in Las Vegas that meant indigenous meat leathers. In time it became a conceit. But I've been eating imported fruit (Mandarin oranges are a lead example) at home in the winter time for half a century. And half a century before that, a recent trip to the Kelowna Museum reminded me, Okanagan Valley and Washington State apples (in diversity and profusion) were winning awards in Covent Garden, London, and beating local, British fruit for Best in Show ribbons. In those days, like today, shipability factors remain the challenge.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Although most of the attention focused on the current issue of Edward Behr's The Art of Eating (2004, Number 68) is bound to be on Mitchell Davis's excellent article on shopping for food in New York City, I believe the most significant piece in the issue -- and perhaps the best piece to appear in AoE in quite some time -- is the wonderful profile of Odessa Piper of the Madison, Wisconsin restaurant L'Etoile, by Amy Trubek, the author of Haute Cuisine: How the French Invented the Culinary Profession.

In this article, Trubek lays out the singular vision of Piper, a chef who cooks with an incredible array of local Wisconsin ingredients. To call Piper the Alice Waters of Wisconsin would be to trivialize what she is doing, because her challenge is of a different order of magnitude than that of cooking fresh, seasonal, local food in California. The article not only tells an impressive story of culinary inventiveness and fidelity, but also reflects carefully on the meaning of terroir. It commits few (not none, but few) sins of sentimentality and does not gloss over the key facts. I feel badly that I skipped over L'Etoile when I was in Madison, having been told "all they serve is apples and it's overpriced." These days, I have learned that when the right (as in wrong) kind of person says something like that, it's a rave review for me.

I have said before that I support buying fresh, seasonal, local produce and do so myself plenty, but that there's a big difference between buying local and buying exclusively local. Most significant to me, from the perspective of this discussion, are the following statements in Trubek's piece: "The amount of fresh, regional produce used at L'Etoile does decline to 30 percent from January to March, but another 30 percent of preserved Wisconsin fruits and vegetables brings the total amount of Wisconsin produce to 60 percent even in the dead of winter." Also, "Piper's idealism and imagination have made her purchases of regional ingredients unusually large and consistent, but even for her Harmony Valley Farm's carrots tend to be showpieces on the plate, while for stock carrots from California will do."

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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That's a great essay, FG.

Oh, look:

gallery_500_603_1106098890.jpg

Mmmm, delicious local produce.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Upthread some disparaging remarks were made about apples that have been stored through the winter. While really old apples are not necessarily a good thing, in all places that have a real winter there needs to be some mechanism of eating during that winter and that mechanism is not going to involve eating crops that are actually growing outdoors. Options include root cellar-type approaches (this would also cover storage of apples), canning, freezing, dehydrating, etc. Another option is growing crops indoors, in hothouses and the like. I suppose some would say that these applications of technology are preferable to importing produce from elsewhere.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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So, I'm reading a cookbook review in the LA Times, and I come upon:

" I don't feel I need a lecture on cooking with quality ingredients or on eating fruits and vegetables in season. (Last week I bought some cherries from Chile at Costco, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.) "

hmmm....

Also, in reference to the above post, I believe the apple sellers at New York's USQ Greenmarket but their apples in cold storage; there are apples for sale at the market year round, so draw your own conclusions.

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