Celebrating Seasonality, Literally

April 7, 2006

It wasn’t always the case that one could pick up any recipe and easily find all of its required ingredients during any season. Not long ago, what was available for people to eat and what was grown locally and ecologically were the same; season, climate, and region defined local diets and culinary traditions. Industrial-scale farming, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and international shipping hadn’t yet been invented. Today, looking at the produce section at a typical grocery store, one would be pressed to name the season; melons in winter, asparagus in autumn, and year-round raspberries are the products of a global food market.

Though our food system has changed drastically, there are still cooks whose menus follow the local harvest calendar, and there’s a strong argument that eating food produced regionally and ecologically is just as much a necessity as ever. Below are the newest books by authors and chefs who have found inspiration in an alternative, sustainable food system.

Kyle Pusateri raises chickens on Eatwell Farm’s pastures and sells the eggs under the label Three Wise Hens at the Eatwell Farm stall on Saturdays. Kyle will talk about the difference between his hens’ eggs and supermarket eggs, the seasonality of eggs, the symbiotic relationship the chickens have with the farm, the specific breeds that he has chosen to raise, and the higher cost of producing organic eggs from truly free-range chickens.


Author and chef Jessica Prentice uses Three Wise Hens eggs to create a delicious Asparagus Frittata. Those of you who have shopped at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for a while will remember Jessica as CUESA’s former Director of Education, who left the organization to continue her work on a book. Less than two years later, Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection is hot off the press. Organized according to the agrarian lunar cycles, Full Moon Feast explores the culinary wisdom and customs of our ancestors, the problems with America’s prevailing food system, and the delectable joy and nourishment that one can receive by eating in harmony with nature and tradition. Jessica also includes a recipe for homemade Sourdough Cheese Herb Scones. To learn more, visit www.wisefoodways.com.

Anne Lappé and Bryant Terry are co-authors of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen. The book exposes the illusions and problems of the global industrial food system, passionately argues for the sustainable alternative that the authors call “grub,” and offers fun and appealing recipes (complete with suggested soundtrack) for preparing tasty grub in the home kitchen. Anne is the daughter of Frances Moore Lappé, with whom she co-authored Hope’s Edge, and Bryant is a trained chef and founder of b-healthy, a food and nutrition education program for Brooklyn youth. More from their book: Sour Shiitake Mushroom Soup, Sensual Vegetable Stir Fry, and Herbed Forbidden Black Rice. To learn more, visit www.eatgrub.org.