Spring is truly here, has been for a few weeks--early, yes, but oh so welcome! Cherry blossoms are already on the wane, and we are back to grey drizzle for a bit. But we have not only seen the sun, we now also have full-on Spring at the farmer's market. We have GREENS.
As a matter of fact, I have been out picking nettles and dandelions, cleavers and chickweed, for about a month. I can't begin to tell you what a pleasure it is to shift from winter roots and brassicas to fresh, tender leaves . . . I had been wanting to cut down on the starchier roots we have been eating--the rutabegas and parsnips, as yummy as they are--and here Spring has done the job for me. Now there is such an abundance of fresh herbs and vegetables that each week we are adding something new, crowding out the winter staples.
I am still working on using up what we stored for the winter, all the while making mental notes about what approach to take this year. We have used up most of the applesauce, but have luscious canned Italian plums left (thanks to Joy!) We are carefully guarding the raw rose-hips preserve and the syrup I made in the early winter--at least until the fresh berries come in June. (I did make a yummy barbeque sauce for lamb riblets with the syrup and chipotle pepper last night.) We also have frozen berries, probably enough to last until June. There are jars of tuna--oh, I must post the photos of the Tuna Project! And pickles, though I think these won't be enough to last until new cucumbers are ready. I have had to make more kraut, but I just acquired an old-fashioned cabbage shredder, so next time I will do this in real quantity, enough to last the year. I still have most of the dried string beans ("leather britches"), which I ended up not using much of, though we did like them.
The hold has proven to be an admirable root cellar. We have a year-round market, so I don't need to actually store roots, but the home-canned goods, the ferments, the wines and ciders, are keeping marvelously. I am not sure if the wines will last until next Fall's production is ready, but only because they are so delicious that we have not been able to pace our consumption to the amount we have. We'll learn how much to make each year as the years go by . . .
So Spring. A good time to look back and forward at the same time. To see how we have weathered our first year here--well, I believe (granted it was a mild winter). To literally take stock. Last year we had such a steep learning curve: so many new skills and tools to acquire, so many wild foods to recognize, so many resources to identify. We have new projects planned for the summer, painting and such. I would like to learn a new food-related skill and some new plants to enjoy this year--and every year. In all, though, it should be more relaxed around here as we assimilate into our new community, our new foodshed.
We love it here--come enjoy the seasons with us!