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Maybe May will be May


Maybe May will be May…


As a child growing up in southern Michigan I took pride in the seasonal fact that my birthday (around the same date) came just at the time that the last of the native trees were fully leafed out. That is just about the state of Spring unfoldment here right now, which seems to me (in my brief experience) to be about a month behind schedule. This phenomenon has had consequences for growers, and I congratulate them for the fine quality and consistent production maintained throughout some inclement weather in the last two ordering cycles. It has been an extremely challenging year for some very early crops like asparagus and strawberries, where just as they were at the very early harvest stage or starting to rise, the season got suspended by cold. And the heavy rains we are having make strawberry harvesting difficult and yields low. I eagerly await the (promised in long range forecasts) coming warming trend to see if these crops can recover.

On the other hand, I have personally enjoyed the sustained late winter – early spring transition. Some of Earth’s most vital forces go into the first vigorous flush of Spring growth. The green crops being harvested right now are simultaneously at their peak of quality AND abundance, a fact that defies our conventional economic mindset. In terms of its Earth vitality, however, a bunch of kale produced this week will have greater value now than it might later in summer, should heat and drought depress supply, even though it could fetch a much higher price on the market.


CSA programs that offer subscribers pre-chosen and boxed weekly portions of what is in season, often provide recipes and suggestions for “What do you do with all that kale, or all that zucchini?” Rather than bemoan the monotony of it, I suggest that it may be well worth finding ways. These crops are in such abundance precisely because they are in their prime condition for harvest. One of the old-fashioned wisdoms of putting food up is to capture each crop in its peak condition of both flavor and nutrition.

On CAFÉ at this moment we have 33 Growers offering 594 products. You may have tried kale, but have you tried all varieties (at least five, plus mixtures, are offered) of kale? Have you tried it from all of our growers (at least five are now selling kale)? Each are growing in diferent conditions with plants at different stages of maturity.

To encourage experimentation with better utilization of local abundance CAFÉ is offering a special Locavore challenge for this week’s potluck: Present a novel/creative way to increase your consumption (either raw, cooked, processed) of a currently abundant crop and we will award you a $10 CAFÉ credit. Abundant is hereby defined as an in-season vegetable that has not yet sold out (Hurry, Market closes today at noon!) Besides kale, some candidate crops are arugula, beets, cabbage, lettuce, mustard, onions, swiss chard, – and here’s something I have never tried – C&D Farms has just re-emerged as an active CAFÉ Grower over the weekend with a crop called goji, or gou gou, an heirloom Chinese green with highly touted benefits.


As the Spring growth has been retarded by cold, our transition to our new website has been delayed by obstacles on our “real job”) calendars that have prevented us from reconfiguring and re-entering enough of the necessary data from one site to the other. Toward this end we have been well by volunteers Meg Smith and Gary Thompson. By Mothers Day we should have a definite timetable for this exciting transition.

Thanks to all who braved late winterish weather to attend the Farmers Markets and Green Living Tour over the past weekend!

Market open until noon. Avoid hail, eat more kale! Lance