Seasonal? What is seasonal? If you were to look in my garden at the moment, you might think that courgettes (and a few caterpillar-eaten cabbages) are the only things that are in season but my shortcomings as a gardener might not be best representative of what vegetables are available at the moment! Take a look at a farmers’ market veg stall (or at a better managed garden) and it’s easy to see that carrots and parsnips, the brassicas – broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower – main crop potatoes, runner beans, rhubarb and even Irish-grown peppers are all plentiful right now.
But it’s not so easy if you do most of your vegetable shopping at the supermarket. With anything you could wish for in the supermarket all year round (I’m especially pointing the finger at you, tasteless Peruvian asparagus), it is sometimes difficult to know what you should be buying – unless you have prior knowledge. Bord Bia have just launched Best In Season, a website that focuses on promoting the fruit and vegetables that are available during their natural Irish season. Buying vegetables from Irish producers, whether organic or not, is vital unless we want to wake up some day and realise that all of our fresh produce is shipped in from overseas, leaving us at the mercy and whims of big business.
Their Best In Season calendar – divided into vegetables, fruit, salads and herbs – can be downloaded and printed off, there are recipes (including a great one for Smoked Mackerel and New Potato Salad), videos and links to a list of farmers’ markets and the fantastic Agri Aware Incredible Edibles school growing projects. Well worth checking out.
With many thanks to the Best In Season people for the fabulous basket full of seasonal Irish vegetables.