Archive for April, 2011

Spinach, it's Popeye tough!

Spinach, that dainty little green with the succulent leaves that we find so very fine in salads, perhaps in omelets, maybe stir-fries, and soups as well, has a “tough side,” too, if you will, and I can prove it.


A spinach salad from the Food Network.



You see, long after the two cold snaps that took place in November and then again in February that killed or damaged many an orchard tree, for sure killed off most of our kale – which I long thought to be the “toughest” veggie in the garden – and literally froze the cabbage heads from the inside out where they stood, it’s the spinach that’s still alive. Yep, here it is:

Overwintered spinach

Doesn’t look tough, does it? Well, to be honest, it’s not. It’s still edible. In fact, we had a salad last week, plucked straight from this patch.

Sure, the leaves are a little curly, but you’d be curly too if exposed to extreme temps! Seriously though, the eatin’ is fine when you’ve got fresh spinach available in March. And having that fresh, vitamin-rich green stuff handy is even more important if you’re a subsistence farmer, or if those fresh veggies aren’t lining the grocery store shelves.

You see, the early months of the year are known as, the “Hunger Gap.” It’s the time of the year when the soil is too cold for germination to take place, and to allow nutrients to reach the starts, so nothing grows.  If you don’t already have root crops stored in the soil (in Mother Nature’s coldbox), or overwintered greens that survived, the hunger gap is a lean time that may see you eating dandelion greens just to get those much-needed vitamins (not to mention flavor!).

Like I said though, not every vegetable survives every year. It’s all up to the weather, and our own craftiness. This winter, Flicker Farms will be growing winter vegetables to keep fresh greens and roots on the tables of Wenatchee.

Happy eating!


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