Now I may be getting old, but it wasn’t so long ago in history that there was no refrigeration. We weren’t shipping food in from Mexico or some third world country back then, so what you harvested September through November would have to last throughout the winter.
At 54 inches below the earth’s surface, the temperature remains a consistent 54 degrees. Before refrigeration, that was pretty good. You may have gone into the basement of an older home at some point in your life and seen soil instead of a poured floor. That is a common root cellar.
Farmers planted crops that held up in the root cellar and, obviously, their menus evolved around what would last. As summer changes to fall and fall turns to winter, we harvest winter root vegetables and place them, still caked with soil from the field for preservation, into reusable harvest containers that are stored, you guessed it, at 54 inches underground.
I am happy to see the renewed interest in sustainability and seasonal consumption. I think it’s healthier and more exciting to eat with the seasons. Hopefully, the sustainability of seasonality will motivate you to skip the South American French beans in winter, to leave pre-peeled carrots in Mexico, and whip out the beets, celery root and rutabagas until spring’s bounty arrives.