As we approach the longest day of the year, the growing season in Lancashire comes into full swing with a variety of crops starting to become available. From now on it becomes super easy to eat local and seasonal food in Lancaster and still have a variety of choice.
According to my seasonal local food calendar the vegetables of the moment are: new potatoes, beetroot, broad beans, cabbage, carrots, chard, courgettes, summer onions, salad leaves and early peas. (You can download your own seasonal food calendar for Lancaster from the LESS blog).
Herbs that are in season and can be grown in your own backyard include basil, bay, chives, parsley, fennel, lemon balm, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano just to name a few.
As keen foragers will no doubt be aware, elderflowers are in full bloom. It is therefore the perfect time to make elderflower fritters, elderflower cordial and elderflower champagne!
Seasonal fruit is a little more limited at the moment but gooseberries, raspberries, redcurrants and strawberries are starting to ripen and will mark the start of a fruit-full summer! I can’t wait to explore the tastes of the season!
So we know there is a growing abundance of local and seasonal produce, but where can we access it?
Well there are a variety of answers to this question: from browsing the hedgerows with an experienced forager, to helping out at Claver Hill community food project or buying from a local food business that sources from local food producers. To help you navigate the options for accessing local food locally, we have recently updated LESS’s online local food directory: www.lessuk.org/directory.php You can use the online directory to find information about food, drink and seeds produced in and around Lancaster. It also highlights restaurants that actively try and source some of their produce locally.
The Midsummer market tomorrow (Friday 16th June) in Lancaster Market square will also showcase a number of local food producers, giving you the perfect opportunity to meet local growers and find out about our bubbling local food scene.
Growing and buying seasonal local food is all well and good, but you also need to know how to cook with seasonal produce. To help inspire ideas, I will be handing our Midsummer recipes at the Midsummer Market and we have listed our favourite seasonal recipes on the LESS blog. See www.lessuk.org/blog/category/local-food-recipes/
If you would like to share your favourite seasonal recipe, email it to me ([email protected]) and I will share it in future columns and on the blog mentioned above.