We made it! On this, the still-pretty-chilly second day of the most welcome of springtimes ever to grace this fair city, at least we can breathe a sigh knowing that we’ll all soon be swimming in the lettuces, herbs and sweet peas of May. For the moment, however, we’re still in March and March and early April are the leanest times of the year for local agriculture because we’re running low on the storage crops (apples, root vegetables and squash) from last season, and even the early stuff for this year hasn’t had quiiiiite enough warmth or sunshine to be ready to go yet.
Nonetheless, a few early season greens, cultivated indoors or out with a little bit of shelter, are starting to appear. Here are a few to look out for:
Swiss Chard – Kale has definitely seen us through the winter, but once spring arrives it’s a pleasure to pick-up the more tender swiss chard. Whether red, green, or rainbow, swiss chard leaves wilt down in an hot pan almost as easily as spinach and their stems, minced with some onion, add a juicy element. Expect to see chard popping up at markets all over town, but definitely don’t miss bunches of Kensington-grown chard should you head to Greensgrow this weekend.
Sorrel – Sometimes green, sometimes red-veined, sorrel may look like bunched spinach at first glance, but the leaves have a pronounced sour flavor. If you find it at your local market, pick small, delicate leaves into a salad for a tart element, and grind larger ones into a grassy, sharp pesto.
Watercress – At the Fitler Square Market, Brogue Hydroponics is offering a stunner of a salad mix as well as hydroponically grown watercress. This peppery plant is semi-aquatic so you don’t often see it cultivated like swiss chard, kale or arugula, but it does well in a hydroponic system. It also happens to be an excellent, juicy green with a slight spice that would be a perfect in a sandwich with a little smoked fish on some of Big Sky Bread, another Fitler Square vendor.
Multicolored Carrots – No, they’re not a green, but who can resist the crunch of fresh carrots, especially the red, purple and orange ones from Landisdale Farm at Clark Park?
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