My devotion to eating seasonally has spanned over 30 years and is now simply a way of living. As the years have passed, I have seen the changes in the surrounding attitudes towards food, farming and freshness for health, helping the environment and supporting our communities. The concept of eating locally sourced foods, foods that were harvested shortly before preparation, honoring the rhythms of the earth’s seasons are currently all the rage. In some ways, this delights me, in others it feels too trendy and upscale.
Many stores and restaurants have jumped on the bandwagon. It often feels contrived because with trendiness comes commercialism. I’m glad that the knowledge of fresh, organic food is growing and is being supported by their efforts. For me, sometimes, the heart and earthy connection that I feel in my garden grown food gets lost in these places. And, in many case these days, a TV is there right alongside to ruin the dining experience. Taking our attention away from the beautifully prepared meal and mindfully grown food is creating a conundrum. The message gets completely lost when you are staring at a screen instead of your food and the company you are with.
We recently had the opportunity to dine at Saison, a French-American Farm to Table restaurant. Saison (season in French) is a beautiful restaurant in San Francisco that has 3 Michelin Stars for the past three years. This was the best meal I have had in my entire life! The exquisite beauty of the environment and all the details of the meal from start to finish was beyond anything I could imagine.
When I enjoy the freshest bounty from my garden without preparation I just pop it in my mouth and savor the burst of flavor. This was the experience of dining at Saison – but better. Each course was prepared in a way that simply enhanced the precious flavors of the super fresh foods. The presentation, simple and elegant, only added to the enjoyment of each morsel.
Over a period of almost three hours, we relished every bite and thoroughly discussed each plate we were served. Their emphasis is on wild and seasonal, so that only the most alive ingredients are served at each meal. When we eat food that is filled with life, we feel more fulfilled at the end of the meal. I remember when Ofer and I first started growing our own food and eating seasonal, organic foods 30 years ago. We found that we ate smaller amounts and felt satisfied. As a result, we could afford to buy the higher quality foods that we preferred because the cost balanced out by eating smaller amounts.
The meal at Saison was a perfect expression of fulfillment. Though each course was a relatively small serving, sometimes only 2 – 3 bites, the amount of life in each bite added up to an intensely satisfying meal for every sense. The impeccable service added to the entire experience. Non-intrusive, relaxed presence anticipating our needs. Truly a dance between the servers, the cooks we gazed upon as they prepared our meal in the kitchen and the peaceful, rustic surroundings made for 3 Michelin star dining!
Remember, life is a series of decisions, choices about how to spend your time, your energy, your money… When you are willing to truly say “YES!” to what you want in life, the unexpected will happen.
Photos courtesy of Amy and