It’s still just the beginning of spring – or something we in Boston are told is “spring” – but I definitely have spring fever. It started with the extra hour we gained last month. Everyone loves that, especially runners along the Charles like me who watch the sun set over the Boston “skyline.” (She says with a bit of a smirk, having moved here from New York. No, really, it is beautiful. Small, but beautiful.) We’ve had some glorious sunsets in the past month, so whether you are a runner or not, it’s time to get outside if you haven’t already.
Another spring activity that brings much joy is planting and tending a vegetable and herb garden. This pursuit that has the power to renew as well as sustain body and soul through working with the earth, watching things grow – the subject of The Longwood Players‘ spring musical The Secret Garden - and enjoying its bounty in delectable summer cooking.
If you don’t have your own garden, though – er, I live in a condo in Brookline – there are many other ways to buy local organic produce. I will get into all of that another time, but as the days grow longer I do the majority of my food shopping at the various farmers’ markets around the city. Remember, many of these markets carry various other foods, including cheese, eggs, and bread and various prepared foods if you are so inclined (pesto, pastries, and so forth, many of which are divine, but I recommend making these yourself if you can swing the time). There is also locally caught fish at my “home” market in Brookline. Between that and a trip to BLM Wine + Spirits to pick up a few bottles of wine or perhaps alcohol to mix up a new tasty summer cocktail, I’m basically all set. Not only do I have fabulous food and drink, but my choices have supported local businesses and communities.
(Speaking of wine, it’s getting to be rosé time, a summer stand by yearned following a long winter. My cousin from Portland also has spring fever given the season hasn’t yet reached Maine. Feeling frisky, we opened our first bottle of rosé on Saturday afternoon paired with Maine lobster rolls. Lunch doesn’t get much better than that.)
The problem is, the growing season in northeast climes is short and limited local produce is available during the winter. I was elated when I able to procure crisp autumn apples at the Union Square Market in February when I was in Manhattan; that market is open year round. Hopefully Boston will follow suit one year soon, but for now the farm markets in Greater Boston shut down the week before Thanksgiving. If you’re a farm market junkie like I am, that day is a very sad one. Last November, I’m pretty sure I shed a few tears and wondered how I would ever make it to the following spring. What would I cook for dinner for the next 6 months?
Well, we’ll deal with what I actually do cook for dinner during the winter when we get there next time around. The point today is that Christmas is almost here. I mean, the day the farmers’ markets open in Greater Boston. In fact, a few of Boston’s markets open this week, which is very exciting indeed. My “home” market doesn’t open until June 16, so you can be sure I’ll be prowling around the others in the meantime. (The goat cheese at the Copley Square market is amazing, so I make trips there just for that, actually.)
I can not wait.
I’m dreaming about local spring asparagus and summer dinner parties with good friends and great wine. And I’m thinking about how my work weeks will soon happily include trips to the market. True, I haven’t grown the food myself, like I might one day if living circumstances change. But creating the week’s menus while meandering through the market and poring over produce is something that brings me a unique pleasure.
As the summer’s harvest grows ever more bountiful as we move through June, the Museum of Science and the City of Boston will be hosting a “Let’s Talk About Food” festival. Sound like someone you know? This is a free event that will take place on the banks of the Charles River on Saturday, June 25 (rain date Sunday, June 26) and you should definitely check it out. I’ll be participating in the event in a number of ways to chat with people about why what we eat matters, from farm to fork, person to planet.
So what will I make following my first visit to the Brookline farmers’ market in June? Not sure yet. Have to see what looks good at the market that week. But without question, it’ll be something delicious as well as nutritious. Which is, ultimately, the purpose of this blog: To bring together food, science, and nutrition, in a way that moves people towards living healthier, longer, and more sustainable lives. Delectably.
And what’s more, baby, I can cook.
(That last line is referencing a song from On the Town, which is a 1944 musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. If you don’t know it, check out the lyrics.)
Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, check out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more. Thanks for reading!