Photo by Katherine Harris
I think April truly is the cruelest month if only for the fact that we are, more than most, chomping at the bit to get the thawed life kicking again. But it is also my favorite month, because dammit, I’m an optimist.
When that first 60-degree day hit back in March, I was one of many knocking on the garden store door, just wanting to check in and hang out a bit in hopeful camaraderie. Truly that was silly folly, but this month is when the wellies come out and the planning begins, and we get the real opportunity to see some of the farmers again.
The markets have been going all winter, god bless them, but pop-ups and indoor markets really only whet my whistle for the real thing. Weather willing, by the end of this month we will have both the Minneapolis and St. Paul farmers’ markets open again. And I will be there, cupping my coffee against the wind and just walking the booths and greeting old friends. Then, trickling in over the following weeks, the satellites and outpost markets will begin to open, and we will get to see who’s been busy this winter crafting and cooking and creating local goodies: I seem to find a new barbecue sauce genius and baked-goods maven each year.
And let’s not forget that it’s also time for the best speed-dating gig around; The annual CSA fair at Seward Co-op will take place on April 18. Even if you can’t make a decision, or would rather buy from the farms at the markets, chatting up the CSA kids at the fairs is an amazing opportunity to get to know some farmers and really understand what to look forward to in the coming season. And it’s important to know, this isn’t the only CSA fair. More and more have been popping up over the years, last month there was one in a brewery! So stay tuned to our Friday blog The Feed for more dates and events like this.
Now of course many of us need a little nudge to get out to the farm, and for some reason that nudge tends to be . . . pizza? Who knew that our local farms could find a second calling as outdoor pizza pastures. The original, in Stockholm, Wisconsin, A to Z Produce & Bakery, has already opened for the season and is cooking strong on Tuesday nights (worth a mention, grab a brick oven sourdough boule on your way out). I have a feeling that this trend will continue, and we will see some pizza farm action closer to the metro. Long Lake’s Two Pony Gardens still does them, but on a ticketed/limited basis. However, the overwhelming response they’ve had has sparked a few other farms to take notice. All I’m saying is stay tuned for plans to be finalized.
With all this talk of fresh-from-the-farm food, maybe this is the season that you become the farmer. Even if it’s just exploratory, or maybe aspirational exploration for your next life, why not take a class. Egg Plant Urban Farm Supply is a great little resource, from backyard chicken basics to intro to beekeeping, it’s helping nourish the seed that this month plants in all of us.
Get the weekly dish from Stephanie March every Saturday at 1 pm on myTalk 107.1.