No type of pundit is more annoying to me than the food "realists," people like the Freakonomics guys or this guy, who seem to know nothing about growing food and precious little about cooking or eating it either, but feel qualified to make statements like this one:
First, how practical is local food sourcing in a nation that enjoys a diversity of food? From a practical standpoint, there isn’t much that can be grown in winter in most parts of the country.
Seriously. I garden in Zone 4–pretty damned cold. It is now November. Yet, I was able to harvest the following from my garden this week:
- Brussels sprouts
- Bok choy
Every bit of it, so fresh and delicious, that even a Freakonomics writer without much of a palate might notice the quality and range of the food, in the unlikely event that I'd ever invite such uncongenial grumps to dinner.
The Brussels sprouts and kale will be there in the garden until Christmas. I've got a root cellar for the parsnips, leeks, and celeriac. I have pumpkins and potatoes galore already in my basement. I'll make sauerkraut with the cabbages. I've already made some pickles and relishes and frozen loads of tomatoes and tomatillos. And the mache is already germinating in my garden…just waiting for that moment in March or April when the snow disappears and it will turn into a perfumy salad.
And I am admittedly many steps behind someone like El of Fast Grow the Weeds, who has two big unheated greenhouses that convert a Michigan winter into a mere speedbump.
The local apple farm manages to store apples and pears beautifully all winter long. As long as we can still ship in coffee and clementines, I don't see much problem with eating locally in winter, even in the Northeast and Midwest.