Sunday, June 14, 2009

seasonal regional and fresh

I've always had an interest in cooking in the way that is now called Slow Food. The movement to local is again gaining popularity. It never lost momentum with me.

Flavour marriages are at a premium when you take the local produce from the same region and season; you can't go wrong! Classical food combinations are historically based on these regional and seasonal marriages. Although my reasons for cooking seasonal regional and fresh were always based on taste, there are lots of other reasons to use this base in understanding food, produce, cooking.

For a start in our industrialised, and then technology based societies, (global) transport is easier and quicker so we've come to enjoy produce from other regions at any time of year. Long distance hauls have an impact, on not only flavour, but also have a huge cost to the environment. What is the impact to our world on transporting water in a bottle up to 15,000 kilometres (or sending pears to China from Australia?) Long storage from farm to shelf for a supermarket takes on a whole new meaning past the family at home bottling of surplus home produce.

All of this is without the other considerations that go into long haul or long storage, such as irradiation, using only hybridised varieties that support transport or GM GE foods for more rescilient farm to shelf time and distance. So many questions, so much impact, when the answer (local supply chain) can be so simple!

During the week I also got to thinking about food in another way. It makes sense that nature has looked after us with seasons, and that nature also supports us with appropriate seasonal nutrition in our food that is available at different times of the year. Think for example winter at its best in citrus: lemons, oranges, mandarins (then think winter colds and flu and the vitamin C that supports us in the best of that season's produce).

Let's get back to basics. Best flavour, lowest cost, lowest impact on our world, best effect to our health is available from a simple choice: regional seasonal and fresh.

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