It seems we’re all getting in touch with the seasonality of our vegetables, thanks to folks like Michael Pollan. (You mean tomatoes and zucchini taste better in summer?) But have you ever thought about the best times of year for other foods? Zoe Brickley at cheese-mecca Murray’s has written a wonderful treatise on the seasonality of various cheeses. It all has to do with the breeding cycles (and resulting milking cycles) of the grazing animals, of course.
A brief excerpt, after a lament about the unavailability of ewe’s milk cheeses this time of year:
If you’d like to finger blame, please look past the sap responsible for sourcing your farmstead picks, and focus instead on Mother Nature’s convention of short-day breeding. While humans and cows follow a lunar cycle of fertility, a ewe’s inner Gaia revolves around the solstice. I think it has something to do with serotonin levels and pituitary glands, but the basic result is that all sheep in our longitudinal neck of the woods can only breed during the shortest days of the year. Here lies some of the pain and the beauty of cheese seasonality.