The Ultimate Local

“I didn’t order any seeds this year!” exclaimed the sixty-something owner of the hardware store. I’d stopped in to buy a replacement thingamajig for a toilet handle part that had rusted through, and to pick up some potting soil. It was the soil that set him off. “Nobody ever bought the seeds, so I didn’t get any, and now everyone is asking for them! I think it’s because of Mrs. Obama, her planting that vegetable garden. Now everybody’s getting on board and I missed it!”

Indeed, seed and gardening supply companies are selling out of supplies, my classes on herb and veg gardening and foraging are selling out, and the “economic downturn” does seem to have spurred an interest in being able to provide at least some of one’s food for oneself.

Nothing’s more local than the food you just picked. I’m a bit concerned, though, that a lot of the new growers and foragers will drop out once they realize that there is a learning curve and a fair amount of work involved. But for the moment, I take their interest as a wonderfully positive sign.

On my own homefront, some of the perennial herbs are coming back up in the garden, including chives.

And the wildlings always do a beautiful job of filling in the gaps in the agricultural calendar: it may be weeks till the first asparagus and lettuce shows up here in the Northeast, but garlic mustard

dandelion, and nettles

are already here. It feels so good to be picking fresh ingredients again, even if it is just a sprig of an herb or a few leaves to contribute to a salad.

Here’s to the season ahead, Leda

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