What to Look for in April
I'm a little harried from work, but I just had to share the latest news:
Fresh peas from California have arrived. I'd give it another 3 to 4 weeks before Washington State, Oregon and British Colombia have their local peas, and another 2-3 weeks after that for the North East. I cannot wait! I will be gorging myself on peas yet again this year.
North American green and white asparagus are beginning to show up on market stands, and my vegetable supplier at work is predicting that the warm weather will push everything up in the North East this year. Quebec asparagus may be a full four weeks earlier in arriving at the market, so keep your eyes peeled around the end of April. North Westerners are probably going to see local spears by mid-April.
Forced rhubarb: now is the season for fluorescent pink rhubarb. If you have never seen these in North America, do not be surprised, apparently they are very hard to come by. I know that there are rhubarb fans who go out of their way to produce the bright pink delicacies, but unless you are acquainted with one, you might not be able to get your hands on some. I apologize for having mislead some last year into thinking they were readily available in North America. They can be found, and I have seen some at the market, but the biggest producer of greenhouse rhubarb is Holland (they do seem to produce a lot of food for such a tiny country!).
Chives, garlic chives and wild garlic: Chives and garlic chives are available year round, either imported or hot house grown. Neither is a good substitute for herbs grown under the elements: the flavour is more robust, and the plant itself seems to withstand manhandling better than the delicate greenhouse prissies! (That might be a little harsh, but most outdoor grown herbs have stronger flavour than the indoor stuff, so a little goes a long way.) All three of the above have grown considerably in the past week in my garden, so it won't be long before the market stalls are filled with locally grown, hardy herbs.
Local lettuces and other salad greens will be showing up in the coming weeks. My seeds have sprouted, and I will posting a how-to on growing your own salad bar shortly.