Gael Giraud, renowned economist and director of research at the prestigious National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) flatly stated, “We’re seeing food rationing in London and potential rationing in New York because our food system is too fragile and too vulnerable.” He acknowledged that we’ve gotten ourselves into a system where food may travel untold times around the world before it gets to the plate. “We are going to have to re-localise our food production; we cannot continue the way we have been going.”
It was a Glory Hallelujiah moment. Realization that our global food system – and the small farm economy, and the planet – is in jeopardy is coming at a horrific cost. Perhaps the horror will lead to sense as we put our energies towards a focus on local food production, making it viable for people who want to produce, and viable for everyone to purchase.
Local and seasonal foods (anyone who has taken a class with me may take a nap right now) are better for everyone: grower, consumer, ecosystem. This doesn’t even take into account the pleasure of eating something grown locally, for it will have so much more flavor than something produced afar.
There will be much to work out, much to plan, many to care for if we can transition to a more modest, stronger food system. What a hope-filled thought!
And with that, let’s visit the strawberry, which is currently crossing paths with the pear and the apple, the orange, and the clementine. I’m always sorry to see the winter group go, but what a joy to realize that a whole new season is soon underway. Right now we’re about three weeks ahead of a usual strawberry season, balm for the confined soul as people snap up little boxes of the Gariguette variety. Referred to as the “queen of strawberries,” the gariguette is the earliest, the longest and most narrow, and the most popular berry here, as much for its tart, aromatic flavor as for the fact that it is such a welcome change, a true harbinger of spring.
Biological tinkering means we’ll have strawberries throughout the summer, and as temperatures warm, flavor, sweetness, and abundance will increase. Soon, one hopes, there will be enough berries in the market to buy and make jam. For now, though, there are plenty available to make this dessert. And just in case you didn’t know, strawberries give you more than just beauty and flavor: they’re filled with vitamin C, and vitamin B9. As if you needed the encouragement!