17 May 2015 – asparagus, a sign of the season

IMG_0051It’s asparagus season – and especially so where I live in East Anglia – and I have just been out to buy some from a small local grower. It got me thinking about an article written by John Burnside in The New Statesman (15-21 May) where he writes about the nature of seasonality as it varies from place to place, sometimes with a few surprises. Here, he gives examples of the glorious July he spent in the Arctic Circle – when the thermometer frequently hit 30 degrees – to apocryphal stories about the freezing, foggy summers of San Francisco, and of when an African woman being shown round the Sheffield Park Garden, wept  as she witnessed the trees shedding  their bright autumn foliage – a sight she had only experienced when native African trees were dying.

John Burnside, writing from Berlin, is also celebrating the changing seasons with the arrival of asparagus on market stalls and in greengrocers. He goes on to say how, in his opinion, there has to be more than four seasons in every year – and many seasons in the human mind. We  know what it’s like to get unexpected early strawberries at the start of summer or late apples when winter should already be here – this kind of seasonality is what keeps the year interesting, adding something extra that predictable supermarket all-year round sourcing just cannot compete with.

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