Monday, April 07, 2008

A Quiet Spring Start

As the first weekend of my favorite local farmers market approached, I was afraid. You see, last year's first market was the very weekend that a late frost hit. The warm days came too early last season and the frost effectively killed all the buds on fruit trees as well as most of what the farmers had put in the ground for the spring and early summer vegetables. Most all of it had to be replanted.

The day of the market was freezing cold. One lone table with a few goods from over winter, and a cold, gray sky to match. Even late in the season, farmers placed one or two tiny, misshapen fruits on the table with a sign, "this year's apple crop." April was a cruel month last year.

This year, there have been no early warm days. Spring has taken its time to get here, and as such there were just a fraction of the normal farms for the start of the season. Most had only herbs to offer, and plants for starting your own garden. Two tables had tomatoes and onions and lettuces. Not local, not this year.

The honey lady ran to meet us. We bought a gallon from her in October and have a quart left we are working on still. "How are the bees?" I asked her. I worry about colony collapse each season. Fine, she said. No worries this year.

I bought a few shade perennials, a hosta, some rosemary and an herb called Stevia, a sweet tasting leaf that I plan on using for an interesting garnish on desserts. All-in-all, it was a very normal start to the season. Chilly, with the sun poking out, a few warm rays, and just like the market itself, a promise of the season to come.

This post is written as part of the Farmers Market Fare, a collection of blog posts on local food from around the web. You can share in the local food fun by submitting your own post for next week. Submissions can be sent to farmerfare [at] gmail [dot] com. Deadline for this week is Sunday, April 13, 2 p.m. EST.


jen said...

i've been worried about the bees. i am so glad to hear the bees where you are are okay.


Expatriate Chef said...

So far, most of the local bee keepers who have lost part of their colonies are the ones who transport the hives to other parts of the country. They make money this way, as pollination service to growers.