We live in a time when you can get anything you want virtually any time of year. Cruise the aisle at your local mega mart and you’ll see strawberries in the middle of winter. Tomatoes, hard as a rock, still grace the shelves along side melons that could easily be used as cannonballs. There’s no life to these fruits and vegetables. No smell, no attraction, but hey, they’re there. You can instantly gratify your food craving with terrible produce. That’s how we’ve been trained. The quality doesn’t matter, I WANT IT NOW! Because of this culture of immediacy, we’ve forgotten the amazing pleasure of biting into a perfectly ripe strawberry; eating asparagus that is nice and tender and not a stalk of woody, insipid ‘asparagus imposter’ that could double as mulch.
Anticipation plays a huge part in taste. When you’ve been pining for your first plate of spring asparagus or perfect strawberry shortcake or those first heirloom tomatoes that have never seen refrigeration, they taste so much better. The wait was well worth it. When foods do come to market, eat them until you bust. Celebrate them. Talk to your neighbor about them…..and when they’re gone, wait until they’re back. Imagine when you were a child how excited you got in anticipation of Christmas. Well, mega marts are trying to program us to think every day is a produce christmas and it sort of it, except the presents suck. Every day, you get to open up a ‘present’ of garbage, lifeless produce. Yippee!
As a culture, we should be pickier about the food we consume. That’s obvious. However, if you start to plan ahead(start now for strawberries, asparagus, peas, rhubarb, tomatoes) and you start to ‘anticipate’ the best of the best coming to market, you’ll be rewarded handsomely. When you go to the grocery store, turn your nose up at strawberries in December. Just do it. Hard as rock tomatoes in February; I’ll pass. Think about biting into a warm from the tree peach, juice running down your chin and forearm. It happens to me every year; the first peach I bite into makes me smile so wide that I laugh. Produce shouldn’t be ‘hard’. It just shouldn’t. Reject it.
The photos below are from past years, but I thought it would help add to your ‘anticipation’.