Sign “Eat Local” made of green peas and pea pod with leaves on wooden background. Organic vegetable produce at a farm.

How can I eat local when winter vegetables are so sad?

November 13, 2017

I have a peculiar and unrecognized form of seasonal affective disorder. It’s only indirectly related to the shorter days, the diminished light and the advent of cooler temperatures. I can tell it’s coming not by the turn of the calendar page but by the menu updates at my favorite cafe.

No longer available: that everything bagel smeared with chevre from happy goats, just-salty-enough pesto and two slabs of blazingly colorful heirloom tomatoes. In its place: a biscuit with pumpkin spread. The fashionable farm egg atop it is a sad substitute for a sublimely sun-ripened tomato.

My seasonal grumps come from the disappearance of summer’s cornucopia from groceries, restaurants and my table. Socially conscious eater that I strive to be, I know we’re supposed to follow the eat-local mantra and rejoice in the time-sensitive diversity of all that our soil produces. I should be reveling in gourds. Instead, I’m sneaking blackberries — with their notoriously short season — at the grocery store.


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