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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Citrus Season

The wife said something to me the other day, about enjoying produce seasonally.  At the time I was like, yah, duhh.  

But living in a large, privileged, urban area makes it so that I don't even notice the seasonal trends in produce much of the time.  Furthermore, and perhaps more to the point, it has prevented me from noticing that produce that IS in season (regardless of whether it's local or not) is just plain in better shape.

I had never thought about produce that way before.  Sure I can get Navel oranges pretty much year-round where I live, but it never occurred to me to gauge their quality based on the season in which it was grown.

I mean, I'm not a moron.  I know that fruit and vegetables are more prevalent and of higher quality (not to mention usually cheaper) during some seasons, less so in others.  I mean, I enjoy Ontario's fall harvest of delicious apples and tomatoes just as much as the next person; that sort of seasonal interdependency is a no-brainer.

I guess I've just never really considered that within that larger context, that the produce right at the peak of its seasonal growing period is going to be of even higher quality than the same produce grown at the outset or fringe periods within the same season.

Of course it makes perfect sense though.  Agricultural producers likely want to squeeze as much yield as possible from every growing season.  That means that fruit harvested at the times marginal to the 'peak' just plain has to be of poorer quality than fruit harvested directly at the peak period. 

Anyway... it's been citrus season for the past few months, I can say we've really noticed the quality of oranges and grapefruit, even limes and lemons.

What's different this year, however, is that we've decided to act upon this.  We've seriously upped our citrus intake this spring.  It's been really nice!  It makes me wonder if we shouldn't construct our diets upon what's in season almost entirely.

I mean, I like to support 'locally grown' as much as the next conscientious person... but I have to admit it doesn't bother me to eat 'foreign' as much as it does to eat inorganic.  Sure, if two identical items of organic produce are right beside each other and one is locally sourced and the other is not, that's an easy choice, but for the most part we are not given such cut and dry choices when at the grocer's.

Say I want some raspberries, as I am wont to many days of the week.  Say it's January.  Say I don't live in Australia.  What am I to do?  I am forced to buy my raspberries from Mexico or California.

Does that make me feel badly?  Not really.  Sure it's inefficient.  But if you want to talk about inefficiency, how about this argument:  Canada is ranked 8th in terms of total global raspberry production and yet in all my long years I have never once seen any Canadian raspberries offered (commercially) at any grocer in Canada.  

Anyway... I don't mean to rant.

In fact, all I mean to do is talk about how awesome the citrus has been this spring.

It's been nice keeping a whole bunch of citrus on hand.  Oranges for dessert are a delicious thing. 

And meyer lemons for my bourbon sours are even better!

These fruit are already close to a week old, and don't they look good?  They look like those plastic fruit they put on display in like furniture stores.  :)

Heh heh heh.