When I was still elementary school age, every summer me and one of my friends would bike to the edge of our suburban world into what seemed like wilderness to us: prairie grass, rolling hills, and trees, trees, trees. We would hunt through tall grass, kicking up hoards of flying grasshoppers with each step, and shout out whenever we found the tiny red morsels we were looking for. We would hunker down next to our wild strawberry patches to pick and eat little juicy beads until they had entirely disappeared. Since they only cropped up in the area for a week or two, we checked often so we wouldnâ€™t miss the moment and took full advantage when it emerged.
This was my first lesson in seasonal eating, though I didnâ€™t realize it then since I have only recently been mindful of this concept. Itâ€™s no secret that many of us immersed in the industrialized ways of modern living have a disassociation with nature. This especially applies to where our food comes from or, in some cases, what our food is. Growing up, I was completely sheltered by the fact that foods, like strawberries, were unnaturally available to me all year round from the grocery store. Though we had a garden, I pretty much ignored the whole process since I was a typical kid who hated veggies. Garden? Ew.
Since moving into my home a few years ago, I have had the benefit of cultivating my own garden. This has been my ultimate instructor on the topic of seasonal eating. By producing my own organic herbs, vegetables, and fruits I felt empowered and connected to the earth and its cycles that we are all, in fact,Â still bound by. I was engaging in its creative process instead of ignoring or fighting against it, and this felt good.
Though there are plenty of ways to get around the natural system, for me the bounty of summer has reawakened a connection to the seasonal occurances and cyclesÂ that make life a little more special. Paying attention to these events helps me to apprecaiteÂ what I have and remind me to live a little moreÂ in the moment.Â My elementary wilderness has now been consumed by further suburban sprawl, so to maintain this memory of discovery, foragery, and friendship I planted a few strawberry plants in my garden last year. Of course, I wasnâ€™t aware that these sneaky plants spread like wildfire! While I was giddy over the handful of juicy sun-soaked berries I savored last year, this year Iâ€™m coming up with fistfuls and I’m avidlyÂ enjoying them while they last. I can fully attest to the fact that a strawberry picked ripe and warm from June sun is sweeter than any you will ever find.