I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but artichoke season is over. They vanished from menus outside the center over a month ago, but you are bound to find them in restaurants downtown, especially in the Ghetto, where they are frozen for later consumption or imported from France.

If you had your heart set on artichokes, or any other out of season specialty, please give them a pass. But fear not! Rome and Lazio have plenty of wonderful seasonal produce to offer year-round that will take your mind off what you are missing. The fertile bounty of the region never disappoints and by eating with the seasons, you promote the local food culture, which, let’s be honest, can use all the help it can get.

Rome is often perceived as a bastion of tradition impervious to external forces. But in reality, its gastronomic culture is threatened every day but the influx of industrial products, supermarkets, fast food joints (seriously, if I see one more Burger King or Subway I’ll go postal), and a plummeting food sensibility among locals. At the risk of sounding preachy, I would urge locals and food lovers alike to read this post from last year, which addresses issues of eating responsibly in Rome and is still as relevant as ever.

As lover of food and of Roman culture, I feel very passionately about promoting local traditions, the artisans who practice them, and the cultivators who grow our food. Eating local and sustainable food in season is a fantastic way to honor Rome’s food culture, which needs our help and respect. And as if that wasn’t reason enough, it just tastes better!