This month has been quite an adventure! Thank you to everyone who made the seedling sale a huge success. I hope you and your plants are healthy and happy. As we move past the sale, we are turning our attention back to the fields and are busy planting, weeding and irrigating. The cold and cloudy days, freezing lows and snowy squalls made for an unpleasant start, but it’s finally warming up.
Springtime is always exciting as more and more things come to life. It is also special because of the many delicious foods that are only available for a brief period of time. The short season reminds us to never take it for granted and instead appreciate the gifts spring brings with it. Here are some of my favorites:
Stinging Nettles: These plants grow wild around the farm and all over North America in rich, moist soil. They are best harvested young in the spring, before they get tough and begin to flower. You can harvest the top cluster of leaves from each plant (with gloves!) and prepare them in a few ways. You can saute, blanch, steam or dry the leaves for tea. They have a delicious, earthy flavor and many health benefits.
Rhubarb: There are a few rhubarb plants at Stearns that produce beautiful pink stems with green streaks. As many of you may know, rhubarb is very tart and is often paired with large amounts of sugar in many recipes. My favorite thing to do with this perennial is to make a simple syrup by simmering the rhubarb in water and sugar. This year, I added some ginger to the water as well. Perfection! I add a little bit of the syrup to seltzer for a delicious and refreshing drink on hot days.
Chive Blossoms: Chives begin to bloom in late May-early June. Their flowers open up to look like pale, purple pom poms. Unlike basil, it’s totally fine (and encouraged) to let your chives flower because the chives will continue to grow. Also, the flowers attract beneficial insects and are edible! The stem of the flower isn’t for eating because it’s woody and chewy, but you should absolutely try adding chive blossoms to your meals. Snip off the whole “pom pom”, pull apart the cluster of blooms and add as a garnish to salads, fish, sandwiches and quiches. Similar to its leaves, the blossoms have a mild onion flavor.
A few more of my favorites that are in season this time of year include:
I hope you are able to find all of these wonderful treats and treasures this spring. The wait each year is worth it. Happy eating!
Until next time,