North Dakota's April's weather has not been conducive to much more than lessons in patience. But May is right around the corner. Gardeners are sowing seedlings on window sills and in greenhouses in anticipation of warmer weather. And, we wait. Maybe this weekend. Maybe next week we can put our hands into the soil.
Sure, there have been a few teaser days. However, my garden beds were still snow-covered on last week. In 2017, our potatoes and shallots were in the ground by April 14 - Good Friday. It's now April 23, after a weekend of 50-60-degrees and the chance of rain. It's coming, I can smell it in the air.
Even with the past month's weather being chill, I have had cravings for lettuce and vegetables. This deep desire for fresh vegetables stems from more than planting preparation. It is your body telling you that spring has arrived.
Our ancestors were not fortunate enough to have supermarkets or big-box stores, or even roads, upon which to travel in winter months to purchase fresh food. Nowadays, you can find most anything in the store, any time of year. Savvy shoppers, however, know that when a fruit or vegetable is on sale, it's in season. Shopping seasonal means the freshest and best fruit, even if it is trucked from warmer regions of this country.
Your body also knows about the change in seasons. Glory-be, it doesn't take a swimsuit commercial to alert your body to the fact it needs to shed some winter weight. After all, spring is a foretaste of the coming summer season where, as many North Dakotans know; we don't need to fuel up against the winter cold any longer. Your internal clock is reminding you to begin eating lighter as the days get longer and moods lift with the dawns daily symphony of songbirds building nests in budding trees.
Very soon, you will be able to find local greens for super salads. Don't forget herbs, fresh of course, eggs from farmer's hens, micro-greens or whatever you can find, or crave in spring.
With spring comes spring cleaning and that might carry over very well to your cravings for lighter foods. This is the time of year I clean out the freezer and the root cellar, creating entire dinners from what I have had stored in the freezer from last fall's bountiful harvest. Jars once filled with colorful fruits of my labor are now stacked upside down and empty in anticipation of this year's local veggie delights.
Take a salad to lunch this month. It's fairly easy to do and here is a VIDEO of how I enjoy the first lettuce harvest.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.