The horizon is widely visible on these days in early May when there are still no leaves on the trees. The tips of the branches are greening up. The dampness of the winter thaw is still in the air. The shadows of the bare branches on the sidewalks barely move in the still air. It takes ingenuity and stubbornness to get through a Wisconsin winter, so a long, slow thaw seems to make sense this year.
There is a calm hope to this point in the calendar. The stormy winds of possible tornados are not yet here, nor the humidity of a steamy summer nor the annual annoyance of mosquitoes. Spring seems kind as the daffodils, hyacinths, then tulips cycle through with blooms. Their colors surprise me every spring. I’m sure they are the same hues as last year but, after an especially cold winter, they seem even more thrilled to appear this year.
And, I’m even happier for the beginning of the delicious part of the growing season, farmers’ market season, than I was each season before. The continuous horizon of each crop’s harvest provides so much opportunity for deliciousness. I’ve been a customer of the Dane County Farmers’ Market on the Madison Capitol Square, www.dcfm.org, and many other markets, for decades. Their continuity is reassuring.
The Deliberate Pickle will help you become a sidewalk forager and turn your finds into delicious, functional parts of solo meals and snacks. I will urge you, as much as you can, to shop fresh this growing season. These fresh ingredients generally require minimal preparation and will surprise you with flavor.
Most of my readers, so far, are in or near my home state of Wisconsin so are fortunate to have access to annual publications, available in print and online, called The Farm Fresh Atlas, www.farmfreshatlas.org. They are issued for each region of Wisconsin so locate the one for your home but don’t forget to find the one for the region you travel to for vacation or other road trips. It not only includes farmers’ markets but farms that may be open for tours and pick-your-own days. It also includes charts that will show approximate harvest times for specific crops.
It’s the season to explore flavors. Mother Nature proves an able guide through the ongoing harvests that will overlap with familiarity and surprise.