Well hello, November. Here you are. This weekend, we’ll set the clocks back and settle into days that get sleepy before we do. The fading daylight will be our cue to cozy up with a good book, a cup of tea, and a worn blanket. Where in summer I’d start thinking about what we should have for dinner in the pre-twilight hour of 8pm, these days I find myself prepping ingredients at 3pm, or if I’m running behind, maybe 4pm. I’m a nester, and these days beckon my nesting instinct in an almost spiritual way. This is what I love about seasonal eating in the fall. Having fully absorbed all of summer’s carefree ease and languid evenings, I feel ready to hunker down, sheltered from the increasing chill, and immerse myself in this new season of sunshine and sweet decay. We take lots of hikes to smell the earthy air and feel the bite of wind on our cheeks. We stretch our limbs in the out of doors knowing that we’ll soon be in more often than out. The brisk weather finds us back home in the evenings, ready for something warm and soothing.
This is where seasonal eating is about so much more than food. Seasonal eating is the bridge to a seasonal life. It’s what helps us to embrace each new season in a mindful celebration. It’s what slows us down, brings us back to the moment at hand, and what helps us to honor the world around us. I’m ready for fall because I loved every minute of summer. And when fall fades into the starkness of winter, I hope to embrace it knowing that we saturated our beings with every morsel of fresh air and savory indulgence that we could muster.
A few years ago, I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time. In a large family, hosting is an honor that one must fight for, and I wanted to do something special. It was our first year hosting a CSA site at our home, and I was inspired. I decided to make an “all local/all seasonal” dinner, sourcing our dairy and vegetables from the farm and buying a hand raised organic turkey from a friend. On top of the items we received in our share, I made a special order of vegetables from the farm. Squash, celeriac, potatoes, brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, carrots, turnips, beets...everything I wanted and would have bought from the store, I was able to buy directly from farmers I knew and trusted. I used Brookford cream to make homemade butter, and served a platter of Brookford cheeses. Using all local ingredients provided a beautiful opportunity to truly appreciate the goodness and bounty all around us. I was worried that my local Thanksgiving would cost a fortune, but given the environmental damage it would prevent, and the opportunity to support a local farm going into the challenging winter months, I was willing. My check to Brookford farm for that Thanksgiving was $70. Less than it would cost me to walk my cart through two aisles at Whole Foods.
As we quickly approach this day of gratitude, I encourage you to consider sourcing your food thoughtfully. Whether you choose to spring for an entirely local meal, or simply prepare the best local mashed potatoes you can, sourcing from the season and land around us is a gesture of gratitude and appreciation that enriches the local economy and offers nourishment in myriad ways.
To put in a special order of produce, meat, or dairy, contact Jodie at firstname.lastname@example.org.