What is the Local Foods Wheel?
The Local Foods Wheels for the San Francisco Bay Area, Northeastern US, Southern California, and Upper Midwest are designed to help you identify what foods are grown in those regions, and what's in season at various times of the year. The wheels are 12 inches in diameter printed on card stock in bright, full color.
How does it work?
The top wheel shows the foods that are available year-round, and the bottom shows foods that are available only seasonally. The top wheel turns to expose one season of the bottom wheel at a time, so that you can see what foods are available during that season. On the back of the wheel is a seasonality reference.
What do I do with it?
You can stick it on your fridge to remind you of the incredible bounty that comes from local fields. If you open your fridge and it is empty, maybe you’ll be inspired to check out what’s fresh at your local farmers market instead of dragging yourself to your usual chain supermarket.
Why do the months read counterclockwise?
Looking at history and calendars from other parts of the world, you will find many examples of wheels used to represent the year, and they often read counterclockwise. Take a look at the 16th Century Astronomicum Caesareum; then at the Egyptian Zodiac (where the figures appear to be walking through the year counterclockwise) or at Johannes Mueller’s 15th Century Calendarium.
Looking at science, it is interesting to note that if you think of the North Pole as the top and the South Pole as the bottom, the Earth spins counterclockwise—once every 24 hours. It also revolves around the sun counterclockwise. One counterclockwise revolution creates one year.
Where do the moon names come from?
The Old Farmer’s Almanac had a name for each moon as the seasons moved through the year. The names on our wheel are drawn largely from the almanac names. To learn more about the meaning and history of the moons, check out Jessica’s book, Full Moon Feast.
Isn’t every year different?
Yes. Weather variations from year to year can have dramatic effects on food crops, and so produce in a particular year may be very different from the information on the wheel. We’ve done the best we could, but if you go to the market planning on picking up apricots based on the wheel, and you can’t find any, we can only apologize. That’s life.
Why don’t I see an ear of corn in the month of August? There is always corn in August!
We didn’t have the space to repeat the icon in every month when it can be found. There is a corn icon at the beginning of the season (between June and July) and another as the corn season begins to decline (September). You have to fill in the blanks yourself. If you are one of those people whose mind works literally, you can look on the back of the wheel, where more detail is given.