Kale Again: Is It Really Spring?

I taught an herb gardening class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this morning. I walked home from BBG, and on the way enjoyed the magnolias putting on their show.

magnolia walk at bbg

A few blocks past BBG on my way home is the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. It was bustling today. The weather felt like spring. The plant sellers had returned with the flashy purples and yellows of spring flowers giving the market a festive appearance. Jackets were open and there were even a few bare toes in view. It was busier than it’s been since last fall.

brooklyn farmers’ market in April

But there was much less food for sale. Animal products were well represented, and I picked up some fish, eggs, and sausage. But Phillips Farm from New Jersey, my lifeline for produce this past winter, had reduced their offerings to one small table of root vegetables and another of rather sad looking Brassicaceae. I bought some kale, since I used up the last of my frozen greens last week.

Another vendor was selling apples (more apples!) and cider. In other words, the same stuff I’ve been eating for months. Actually, less variety. In February I could still count on Phillips for fresh spinach, leeks, and scallions.

So while the casual visitor might have thought today’s farmers’ market was busier and more colorful, I was painfully aware that there were no new spring offerings of the edible kind, and that the pickings were getting mighty slim.

Not to worry, I won’t starve. There’s still plenty in my pantry. But I am so ready for a fresh salad. Well, I did have the option to shell out $9 for a 1/4 pound of baby salad greens, or a similar fortune for the pallid hothouse tomatoes that were on offer today. Not.

There are the wildlings in my garden to fall back on: chickweed, dandelion, garlic mustard. They make a fine salad. But I confess that I am looking forward to a few leaves of lettuce.

Having whined about the dearth of early spring fare at the market, let me now say that I really don’t mind. You may think you enjoy a salad, but baby, I am really going to enjoy a salad a week or two from now. And when the first fruit (that isn’t an apple, or a dried fruit, or a canned one) shows up in my kitchen I think I’ll throw a party. It will likely be strawberries in June. A strawberry party. That could be fun! In an interesting way, the wattage on my food pleasure has gone way up because I can’t have everything all the time.

Not sure what this is about? Read Getting Ready for the 250-Mile Diet and The Rules

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2 responses to “Kale Again: Is It Really Spring?”

  1. acmeplant says:

    Are you growing any lettuce this year? I set out my starts this afternoon and even though it’s now 37 degrees, I feel like the growing season has begun.

  2. ledameredith says:

    Yes, I am growing some lettuce but it’s still too tiny to harvest even for thinnings. My arugala seeds germinated even though I planted them when the nights were still below freezing. They’re growing quite fast and I’m hopeful of an arugala salad soon.

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