The Holiday Issue
"I think that food ties us to our community, and it's the thing that makes us feel good and connected."
– Kathy Freston
When I think about a time of year made for celebrating local food, the months of November and December immediately come to mind. In Northeast Florida, our growing seasons are just getting going, and we have an abundance of fresh produce at farmers’ markets. With cooler days we are also more inclined to spend time in the kitchen cooking. Gathering at home with family and friends to give thanks for the bounty of the land and sea is especially meaningful during the holidays.
The more I talk to those who grow or raise the food we eat, the more appreciation I have for farming. Farmers set out with the best of intentions, only to encounter many unknowns along the way. Weather, for one, is a major source of uncertainty. As we witnessed from the challenges farmers in California face, rain is integral to a successful yield. However, too much at the wrong time, like we experienced this summer and early fall, can also lead to disruptions in planting and harvesting cycles. Hopefully through the rest of this growing season our area farmers will have the perfect balance of sunny skies and rainfall, to help minimize losses and ensure a variety of local produce and meats will be available for our holiday feasts.
Supporting regional agriculture is a delicious way to add a taste of home to our seasonal tables. In this issue, we highlight other ways to make your holidays truly local as well. If you are in a giving frame of mind, check out our suggestions for homemade edible gifts. Perhaps offering time and energy to local charities is also on your list? We talk about organizations doing good work by growing good food and how you can provide support. Not sure how to address the issue of food waste during holiday extravaganzas? We bring you tips from the pros on being a more efficient cook. And finally we reflect on the idea of gathering; how the realities of modern society have put a new spin on how we gather, both our food and those we love.
During this season of giving thanks, I would be remiss if I didn't pass along my sincere appreciation to all of you, dear readers, who have welcomed Edible Northeast Floridato the area. It has been gratifying to hear your feedback on the stories and images in our first issue. I look forward to ongoing dialogue and continuing to showcase the leaders and heroes of our local food community.