harmony of the harvest
Eating with a conscience – stewardship eating – puts one between the industrial food chain, and the pastoral one. Local heritage foods, in season, are surprisingly not always easy to come by. Unfortunately, there exists also the misperception that it’s more expensive to eat this way, but it’s actually not .
Over time, within the industrial food web, somehow we lose our connection and appreciation to the goodness and diversity of creation, the fruits of our local land and in some ways, even our connectedness to the seasons. What’s local right now in Virginia, is not what is local right now in California – and that is a very good thing! Our bodies are linked with our environment, and therefore what is growing here locally provides me the local nutrients that my body needs and craves for the current season surrounding us.
In the winter we crave hearty soups and stews with root vegetables which provide rich nourishment for the winter chill. However, with the beginnings of spring and the emergence of the first tender shoots of asparagus and lettuces, nature offers us the very foods which will cleanse our bodies from the winter bulk. There is a wonderful synergy within the local environment but in our modern world an effort to make the connection, one that should be so natural, is required.
It’s interesting that this local food movement is often called an alternative approach to eating, but those who eat local and seasonal are truly not pioneers, radical or attempting anything new. It’s a return to traditional whole foods-the ones God created; grown humanely and sustainably, the way they were intended-and then trusting that they are good! There’s a harmony in the local food chain, a harmony that the industrial one erodes. Enjoy it for only a little while and the abnormality of eating ingredients, discovered and then isolated in a science lab ~ ingredients difficult to spell or pronounce ~ makes one pause. If you can’t pronounce it, can you be sure your body knows what to do with it?
True, it can become difficult to find local foods in the winter – but the search can be fun! In a fast paced city, local food helps us slow down in a way that brings the beauty of the local environment into view which our busyness blurs. Will you find local olive oil in Virginia, probably not. Thomas Jefferson tried to find a variety that would do well and was unsuccessful. There are also times your kids want to make fresh squeezed orange juice and those will never be local where you reside – so of course you make exceptions, because you want your family to enjoy the practice and those treats also give them a greater appreciation for what’s on the table and the reminder that our daily bread is always a blessing from the Lord.