By Katie Blanchard
It’s that time of year, when flowers are supposed to be sprouting and trees budding and the earth producing a bounty, right? This year, with all the sun and warmth we’ve been having, the buds part is correct, but just like every year, I yet again face the silly disappointment that snow melt does not automatically resurrect the farmer’s market and return local produce to the co-op cooler. This may also have to do with my having just returned from three months studying in places where avocados, papayas, citrus, and mangoes are local…. but, I will have no fear!
Touring the co-op this morning with my Plant Biology class, Strider gave us the wonderful news that this is the first year he’s seen local produce complete the circle of the seasons—he still has local onions from the fall, and the radishes just arrived from Wisconsin Growers. This is great, and gives such hope for the future of year-round production in this part of the world. Equally exciting are the things we can do, and can create, out of the bits of local stuff that is around and can be started quick in the windowsill. Here’s some of the lemonade I’ve made with our few early spring lemons, as it were….
*sprouts! lentils, alfalfa, mung beans, peas….some of these are locally-produced for normal cooking but you can make them even more nutritious-delicious and get out the early-spring itching-to-grow by soaking them in a jar of water overnight, draining them, and then rinsing 3-4 times a day for a couple of days until they are lovely little crunchy things.
*microgreens! I have not actually tried these little guys, but it could be a similar solution to “I need to grow & eat some green things NOW!” Check this out from the perpetually hip Gayla Trail @ You Grow Girl.
*I was very excited to see the new kneaded butter in the dairy section….spring’s first bounty (radishes!) + that lovely butter = only the most jolie of French breakfasts.
*another of my favorite new versatile recipes is herb shortbread, something than can feature more of that delicious butter and either the tidbits of herbs that survived over-wintering or the new plants that are sprouting (or will be soon!) Use any basic flour/sugar/salt/butter recipe and add a tablespoon or so of rosemary, sage, basil, chamomile, or mint!
*roasted parnsips: those freshly-dug creamy beauties from Open Hands are sweet enough to eat raw, but I am a sucker for all roasted roots. Even better? I mashed up roasted parsnips and onions and Singing Hills’ (delicious) chevre for a delicious homemade ravioli filling.