Although there a number of great iphone apps to help you find local food no matter where you are, I love my analog version: The Local Foods Wheel. It’s populated with delightful little drawings that give you an appetizing visual of what you should be eating right this moment. Because it can’t include everything in pictures, the back of the wheel contains a more comprehensive alphabetical list of foods and when they are harvested and available. Wondering about lima beans? They’re harvested and available between August and October. Lavender is harvested as early as June. Oysters, thank goodness, are always seasonal.
The project is the result of a collaboration between three impressive women: Jessica Prentice, a chef and one of the founders of the locavore movement, came up with the idea. Sarah Klein, an artists whose work is informed by the domestic world, created the drawings. And designer Maggie Gosselin put it all together. Their first wheel focused on the San Francisco Bay Area, where they live, but now they have wheels for the New York Metro Area (mine), the Upper Midwest, and they are currently working on one for Southern California. You can buy them through their web site.
It’s a particularly fun visual way to share with children the mysteries of seasonal food. Right now, for instance, we are reminded to finish up with the brussel sprouts, start tapping our maple syrup and can anticipate all of the delicate foods of Spring. I just keep it floating around the kitchen, reminding me that nettles, morels and fiddlehead ferns will all be in season soon!