Blog - Playing with Food

The good stuff

Funny month, March. Usually it's windy, wet and cold but this year it was unexpectedly warm. It's frustrating to look out at the lovely weather and know I still have to put away St. Patrick's Day decorations that have been languishing in their storage boxes in the attic when I'd much rather be outside prodding the nascent radishes.

The first blush of locally-produced spring produce is still far away. I plant lots of peas, radishes, carrots, garlic and herbs partly because I do my test recipes at home and need only small amounts and partly because I want to know when the good stuff - locally produced - is ready to eat. I buy most of my produce from Sauvie Island farmers where the lovely river silt soil makes things grow incredibly well. But it's a much shorter trek to go out to the backyard than drive over the bridge.

What difference does organic make? I'll be honest, I don't think most of us can tell organic from chemically-treated produce in a taste test. And to look at them organic foods tend to be smaller and lumpy; organic heirloom produce is even quirkier. Where the difference comes in is in knowing that you're being kind to the earth when you raise, buy or eat organic produce. Compost vs. chemicals went into the plants which then goes into you. 

I am vaguely obsessed with compost. I have master compost-makers living with me, three house rabbits. Their hay-filled litter boxes are added to the verge and weeds of the compost pile and make a fantastic soil. I actually look forward to turning the compost and revealing the perfect, dark brown, moisture laden, worm-filled and chemical free soil and adding it to my garden. I have flowers that are insanely large and colorful, veggies that are bright and crisp (if somewhat lumpy) and fruits that are abundant and beautiful (although the birds get 99% of the cherries).

For some, spring is a time to clean or to get a fake tan or to go on vacation. Me, it's time to prod the little radish starts, look for one more cranny into which I can fit a plant, and most joyously of all, turn the compost.