With all the flowers blooming and the buds sprouting it would seem like late April and early May might offer plenty of local veggies in the northeast. In reality, however, it is one of the toughest times to support a primarily local diet. The winter root vegetable stores are used up and the earliest greens (not grown in a greenhouse) are just starting to make their way into some local stores (like my favorite Sherman Market). I picked up a bag of arugula and a bag of mache the other day – each bag a large salad for 2 at $4 a bag. Not the cheapest meal… but to taste the bite of those peppery leaves I love so much, it was worth it.
Last week I also scouted out a pick-your-own asparagus farm about 40 miles south, and dragged my reluctant husband, Mayone, along. We were the first visitors to Meggie’s Farm and their asparagus flats were just starting to fill up. We walked away only with a large bunch of purple and green asparagus, but luckily was able to buy some of their rhubarb, which was already almost waist-high! The kind farmers threw in a few rhubarb seedlings as well… our bonus for being their first customers.
Dinner that night: roasted asparagus (needed nothing but a sprinkle of salt and the slightest drizzle of oil) and a frittata made with local cheddar and a few chopped roasted peppers that had been preserved in oil. For dessert I cooked up the rhubarb with honey and then baked it with a crumb topping made from local whole wheat flour, butter and honey. So simple and so fresh.