Founder update: Thoughts on eating seasonally

Founder update: Thoughts on eating seasonally

Hi PB community,

With October finally here, I'm looking forward to my cozy cooking traditions that make the most of fall produce: soups and stews, roast chicken, hearty pastas, and pies, to name a few. I'm also turning to Primary Beans's most quintessential fall recipes: Beans, greens, and sausage, Beans au gratinBrothy beans with sautéed mushrooms and sage pesto, and Fall harvest crostata. (Are you hungry for more? We have so much more in the works!)

I truly believe that seasonal eating grounds us in all the best ways – connecting us to how and where food is grown, guiding us on what to eat and when, and creating excitement around ingredients with peak flavor. Perhaps most importantly, it reminds us to appreciate things while we have them and connects us to particular moments in the year.

 

Shot from a recent grocery haul
Shot from a recent specialty grocery haul.

 

I recently moved to a new Seattle neighborhood that has an incredible farmers' market on Thursday evenings and I've made it a ritual to go with my toddler. I always leave feeling connected to amazing food producers and ingredients, not to mention exposing my toddler to it – which brings me all the joy.

To be perfectly honest though, there was a period of time when farmers' markets felt highly inconvenient and specialty groceries more expensive and out of reach. I'm realizing it's about finding balance, and that sometimes getting quick, healthy-ish food on the table is enough, even if it didn't come from the most joyous, righteous shopping experience.

And as Puerto Rico-based journalist Alicia Kennedy reminded me in her recent newsletter "On Seasonal" (in an interview with our favorite Michigan chef and author Abra Berens), seasonal eating means different things to different people: 

"Instead of, 'We don’t have this in my region,' the difference can be seen as an invitation to considering one’s own region, one’s own seasons, and how to map the available ingredients onto the flavors or textures one is trying to pursue. [...] I think this is useful practice for thinking regionally, as well as seasonally, about food while it’s still rather common to regard a temperate Northeastern U.S. or European climate as the standard. It’s a mental hurdle that, once leapt, can provide more thinking and perhaps more solutions to how to create resilient agricultural systems as we continue to experience climate change."

 

My family's butternut squash
My family’s organic butternut squash

 

Reading this reminded me of my roots on the US-Mexican border and my upbringing in a small family business that imports and distributes fresh produce from farms 3 hours south of the border. Because of this perspective, I've long been able to see across international lines and understand the economics of and systems governing food production. Applying this regional thinking to the local economy and fresh food I grew up around is a helpful reminder. In the Sonoran Desert region, for example, watermelon season is in the fall and spring months and butternut squash is best in the deep months of winter. 

Me touring a fair trade pineapple farm in Costa Rica in 2015
Me touring a fair trade Costa Rica pineapple farm in 2015

 

In my 15+ year career in agriculture and supply chains I've worked in fresh produce imports and regional food hubs. This, combined with my border town upbringing, gives me the perspective I need to shape our beliefs at Primary Beans. We do our best to stay away from black and white principles – heirloom or not, organic or not – and instead highlight regional, nuanced varieties at their peak flavor, from all kinds of talented, thought-leading farmers across North America. Our goal is to make these special beans the type of food people want to celebrate and enjoy.

So this fall season, I invite you to indulge in the season's bounty – whatever that may look like for you – and focus on the little things that bring you joy and give you a sense of grounding.

Warmly,

Lesley

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