Yes apple tasting.
As I sampled several breeds of rare apples, it occurred to me: this is what seasonal and local eating is about.
There are a lot of people who view eating locally as, dare I say, an arduous challenge. Locavores want to take our bananas away!
I admit, that I am often a cranky environmentalist, and sometimes I do see eating locally and seasonally as a burden.
But yesterday, I had a very different reaction to local eating: gratitude. Without the local food and slow food movement, the incredible variety of apples might well die out.
You see, supermarkets aren't interested in the Smart's Prince Arthur (the larger apples pictured right) because, well, the apples are funny shaped. No matter that they were my favorite apple taste-wise. I mean really. Since when have supermarkets cared about taste?
And I started to realize: what's the point in a market that carries the blandest variety of every fruit under the sun? I mean, I love me some bananas and mangoes, but having a store that carries tasteless plums, durable bananas, unripe mangoes, and only perfectly shaped apples doesn't represent a real choice.
But what if that store sold twelve different varieties of local apples? What if we sought to become apple gourmands? Because as I can tell you now, all apples do not taste alike. Far from it, the apples I tasted varied in sweetness, in crispness, in pungency. I now know that apples can be appreciated like fine wines or cheeses.
If we look at it this way, eating seasonally doesn't have to be a net loss. It can be an enormous gain. And while I might still eat bananas and mangoes on occasion, the majority of my fruit bowl will be comprised of local, seasonable fruits. Because now, I'm an apple connoisseur.
This month Karen at Best of Mother Earth challenged us to think about gratitude. I am grateful for local food. I am grateful for fall and for harvest. And I am grateful to have five different kinds of delicious, juicy, imperfectly shaped apples lying in my fruit bowl right now.