Suddenly, I’m getting emails and Facebook updates from my two CSA farms. They want me to know they have tomato, lettuce, and radish seedlings started in their greenhouses. I know it’s only February, but I’m already daydreaming about local lettuce, so much tastier than the tired, well-traveled stuff at the grocery store.
Around here, winter really tends to overstay its welcome. When I talk on the phone with friends and family south of here, and they tell me their crocuses are coming up, I look out my window and see nothing but ice and mud.
I’ve been consoling myself by contemplating all the scrumptious local food headed our way within a few short months. While the CSAs do a much better job than I ever could hope to, we also have a modest vegetable garden. It’s nice to be able to pick a few greens and tomatoes from your very own yard!
Here’s some of what I want to grow and buy and cook this season
More carrots. Last year, I planted one row. They took forever to grow to full size, and then we ate them all within the space of a few days. Lots more carrots!
Fewer tomatoes. I went overboard planting tomatoes last season. Then most of the vines succumbed to late blight. This year: one Sungold cherry tomato, one slicing tomato, and that’s it.
Fresh eggs from the farm stand. We’re completely hooked on locally produced eggs. Supermarket eggs just seem very pale and sad by comparison.
Homemade sauerkraut. Delicious and good for the digestion, due to its friendly micro-organisms. (More about fermented vegetables in a later post.) I’ve experimented with making sauerkraut in the past; this summer I’m thinking about getting a stoneware crock so I can do it right.
Crisp homemade pickles. Love ‘em!
Broccoli rabe. I’ve eyed this for years, but haven’t felt inspired to buy any. Now I have a couple of promising recipes, so I'm ready to give it a try.
Strawberries. Not a banner year for strawberries last summer -- too cool and wet. I ran out of frozen strawberries early. This year, I’m going to pick like mad.
Shell beans. Our farm stand offers bins of locally grown, jewel-like dried beans with fanciful names like Jacob’s cattle beans. Ordinarily, when I need beans, I open a can. But it’s just as easy, and cheaper, to cook a big pot of dried beans, portion them into containers, and stash them in the freezer.
Have I started you dreaming about fresh local produce on this dreary February day? Fear not: spring will be here before we know it!