Monday, April 27, 2009

Preserving the Seasons: April, Week 4

On this fourth utterly gorgeous and hot day in a row, the dogwoods and redbuds and crabapples are unfurling into full, fragrant bloom. Sunlight presses down on me as I walk around town, coating me with the warmth I've hungered for the past few months.

The world is alive with color once more, and though we're expecting cooler temperatures and rains the rest of this week, there's no stopping Spring now.

The new orchard on the Farm, planted in neat rows of apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees, is alive and well after a harsh winter, and the slender twigs are sprouting their first green leaves amidst the sunny riot of dandelions.

The blueberry bushes that were planted just below this new orchard back in the summer took a somewhat harder hit over the winter, but even so, there's new growth here, too.

And back at home, the tomato and broccoli seeds I had planted weeks ago are finally revealing second sets of leaves, and despite their still spindly stems, I think it might not be too long before I can transplant the seedlings into the garden.

From dormant roots and shoots, finally we're seeing a burst of exuberant life everywhere. Isn't it great?

To celebrate, I made this month's featured local meal from some of the first green things in the garden: nettles. I pulled out the recipe for nettle fritters and whipped up a very tiny amount of batter (it was not a big nettle plant I pulled) to make a small fritter or pancake. (I also used a local egg and some local corn flour in the recipe.)

With a cup of refreshingly cold local cider, it made a good, quick, satisfying spring meal on a scorcher of an evening. (And I can only hope to enjoy more weedy meals in the near future!)

We've got one month left in this year-long preserving series, and already the harvest is starting to come in.

Are you ready to start preserving more of the season this time around?

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