Local and seasonal…and delicious

In the throes of winter, it’s hard to think about lush strawberries and blueberry picking adventures where our hands are stained blue for what seems like a few days, but it’s now becoming an exciting adventure to see just what I can focus on when the ground is frozen and we’ve not seen such summery fruit for months.  These days there’s a lot of citrus happening, and I’m really okay with that.

I like to think about the farms, just a few miles away, with people loving and caring for the food that I enjoy in my kitchen and at our table.  It’s something I’ve taken great care, in the last few years, to really think about and make important in our lives.  It’s healthier for our bodies and the community.  There’s something about the bustling farmers’ market, getting there early to beat the crowds and the heat.  Getting my hands on baskets of the stuff I love, before it’s slim pickins’ for those late arrivers.  Kalamazoo now has a Saturday morning winter farmers’ market, which I’m so excited to attend, if only we’d be in town on a Saturday for it!  This coming weekend – it’s on!

This approach to food is definitely something I love about this Tartine cookbook.  There are beautiful narratives and short descriptions emphasizing baking seasonally – not on some sort of soap box, but just as the natural order of things.  Have you ever bought raspberries in January in Michigan?  I don’t recommend it.  It’s perfectly fitting that the foreward in the book is written by Alice Waters, (executive chef, founder of owner of ‘Chez Panisse’), who’s a pioneer of the seasonal and local culinary philosophy.

“The bakery is lavish in the use of seasonal fruit, judicious in its deployment of sugar and decoration, and, best of all, nearly all the ingredients used are grown nearby and produced sustainably, so that everything that comes out of the kitchen is fresh, unfussy, simple, and alive.” —Alice Waters (on the Tartine bakery in the foreward of the cookbook)

Part of bringing the San Francisco bakery into my kitchen has certainly meant bringing this lovely approach and aesthetic, because that’s definitely part of each and every recipe I encounter in this cookbook.

Both of the pictures are from one of our many trips to our favorite apple orchard last fall.