Photo by law_keven/FlickrCC
As warm weather creeps in, our thoughts naturally turn to what follows: the re-emergence and growth of things green. Many of us will return to toiling in our gardens and begin eagerly anticipating the pending arrival of bounteous harvests at our local farmers' markets. We know that strawberries and asparagus will be among the earliest treasures, that blueberries and green beans will start showing up mid-summer, and that the growing season will wind down with bushels of apples and squashes. The seasonality of fruits and vegetables--while obscured by the unchanging, year-round offerings of supermarkets--is at least still vaguely understood by most Americans.
But turn to the topic of meat and suddenly many people will give you a blank stare. Meat (along with dairy, fish, and eggs) has become widely regarded as something that should be available and unvarying 365 days of the year. The one exception to this is wild game, which is generally understood to be more abundant and in peak condition at certain moments on the calendar. The expectation that foods from farmed animals will be uniform throughout the year is logical because, to the extent that farm animals are raised in metal buildings with artificial lighting and fed mass-produced feeds in automated systems, the foods they produce will be quite uniform. And bland. Such foods will no more reflect changing seasons or regional terroirs than do the flavorless, hard strawberries available in supermarkets in January.