Saturday, April 28, 2012

in Just-

in Just- is a springtime poem by e. e. cummings.  I pull out that poem at this time of year as I begin to notice signs of spring.

The earliest sign was about three weeks ago when older Greek ladies of the neighbourhood began combing the sides of the berms in public areas looking for dandelions and other greens.  This has been an interesting result of reducing pesticide sprays in Toronto.

Another sign is my rhubarb in the backyard has unfurled its leaves and shows signs of this year being a more productive year than last.  I have also started a few seeds of vegetables that I cannot get at a farmer's market or the specialty shops.  These tend to be heirloom varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers and beans.  Stuff that can grow well in a compact city garden.

Then comes the ramps.  I get ramp recipes from my RSS feeds; cooked and pickled.  Pickling has always been a way of preserving abundance for me, so I always wonder who has so many ramps that they need or want to pickle.  The advent of the ramps brings on the inevitable backlash about the upcoming death of the wild garlic.  I guess that it is not a bad thing that the thing that ushers spring in for foodies also comes with a discussion around sustainability.

My father would sometimes pick some ramps from a spot pretty near to the house.  It was a small patch that barely seemed to grow.  There were no other patches near it and I had seen no signs within walking distance.  I always wondered where they came from.  Some people are still trying to find a way to cultivate these wild plants but I wonder if that is from where our garlic and our chives have come.

Fiddleheads are starting to creep into my feeds as well.  Funny how RSS feeds make me think of food.  Hell, feed is right in the title.  Many of these seasonal crops, I would not like year round. Fiddleheads is a good example.  After cooking a few snacks of fiddleheads, I am done with their greenish brownish flavour.  I don't know how else to describe the taste.  So, spring reminds me of a fleeting season with produce that I only wish to try once a year or is it just that we only have them once a year that has caused me to only desire them then?

Regardless, spring is too fleeting to be spent at my keyboard.  I think I'll go outside and see if I can figure out what those old ladies were picking...

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