spring garlic, hakurei turnips, and other local delights

As evidenced in my last post, eating seasonally can be difficult. While I am not always 100% successful, I have been working hard lately to eat food that is local and in season. It’s worth it – for the environment, for the local economy, and for my own growth and creativity in the kitchen.

spring garlichakurei turnips

Take hakurei turnips. While these adorable, radish-esque veggies are delicious, I am sure that I would not pick them out in a grocery store with its near unlimited choices. Spring garlic would likely go the same way. However, at the farm where I’m working and at the farmers’ markets, these are two of the most interesting items for eating. The earth is simply not ready yet for all the larger vegetables – it was a cold spring, and the ground is just now warming up. While both of these veggies can be eaten raw, in salads, I have been sautéing them with warm grains and beans. Simple meals to reflect the simple season of Spring. (Also, I’m barely hungry at dinner these days – farmhouse lunches are huge and delicious!)

Take one: hakurei turnips and their greens with spring garlic and lentils, sauteed in butter (cut with oil – you can taste the butter but the healthy olive oil does most of the work)

turnips and lentils
This made an amazing dinner with some french bread and a tangy French goat cheese from Provisions. Best thing about this meal was that I bought the sliver of cheese and bread while walking around town just an hour before cooking. It was a pricey cheese, but I just bought enough for this dinner and some future sandwiches – came to about $3. (Also bought an amazing bleu cheese… if I don’t just eat it all, I’ll blog about it, too).

turnips, bread, goat cheese
Take two: a meal that started as rice and beans. Hakurei turnips and their greens, local shallot, spring garlic and black beans, cooked in olive oil and a few good splashes of leftover red wine.

rice, beans and turnip greens
And just to show you that eating local and in season in New England does not mean subsisting on turnips, here is the meal I cooked last night. Tempeh, marinated in all the good stuff, sauteed with local shallots (storage) and local radishes and spinach (recently harvested). Served over wheat noodles with harvested-days-ago mixed brassica greens, and a mix of local carrot and Real Pickles kraut. The peanut sauce was not local.

I know that I sound like some sort of Michael Pollan disciple/bougey jerk right now, with the amount of times I’ve said the word local. Sorry I’m not sorry? Cooking and eating this way has made me feel way more in touch with nature – and it’s made me go out of my way to put new and fun flavors into meals that really consist of the same foods over and over again. These foods also have a lot of the flavors that we need to care for ourselves during the change in season – such as bitters and sours. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Go to the Farmers’ Market and give it a shot.