We are smack in the middle of leafy greens season here in North Carolina. With this cold, rainy weather, these leafy greens might keep growing and growing for quite awhile… Our farmers had a tough time getting their spring crops planted last year around this time due to muddy fields and cold temps and, sadly, it is looking like we are heading for a repeat of those conditions.
National Agriculture Day was this past Tuesday and it’s a good reminder for all of us to think about where our food comes from … where it REALLY comes from – not the grocery store shelves. The supermarket creates a false sense of plenty. When we wander through the aisles and see box upon box of packaged and preserved foods and peruse the brightly lit produce section with fruits and veggies waxed and polished and intermittently sprayed with misters to keep them looking fresh, it’s easy to forget about droughts and the unexpected freezing temps and the farmers who are at the mercy of Mother Nature every day.
Over the past few years, my family has made a conscious effort to buy produce all year long from local farmers. When you buy your fruits and vegetables from local farms you gain an insight into what it means to eat seasonally. Not only do your food dollars do more to support your community when you buy from local farmers but your food dollars go further when you buy produce in season. At this time of year, I can’t get enough rainbow swiss chard and ruby red swiss chard and malabar spinach and Russian kale … I eat it in abundance because I know that as soon as the temps start rising, our leafy greens aren’t long for this world. Leafy greens will make way for tomatoes and peppers and eggplants and fresh fruit … And my poor children will have a small reprieve from Kale. In. Everything. as they eat their weight in peaches and strawberries and blueberries and their mama has about 4 to 5 tomatoes per day.
But while my fridge is stocked with bunch upon bunch of Swiss Chard, I will keep coming up with tasty new ways to cook it. Tonight’s Swiss Chard specialty … Garlicky Lemon. Super delicious. Super easy. Swiss chard, onions, garlic, lemon – that’s about it. Hope you see some Swiss Chard at your farmer’s market this weekend and grab it while you can…