Friday, May 30, 2014

Spring Strawberries

Aw yisssss... homegrown strawberries! It's the season for first fruits from the garden, I've already enjoyed my radishes, spinach and arugula are gracing the plate, and now the crown of early foods.

No matter how misshapen, no matter if they are still white on the bottom, no matter that they are small and bear the marks of hungry birds; homegrown strawberries are the sweetest nuggets of goodness on the gods green earth.

This, I feel, is the truth of local, seasonal foods. I have grown used to enjoying many crops for only a few short weeks each year. I do it to support local growers, and to know where my food is coming from. I do it to reduce my environmental impact. It's a win-win to avoid those tasteless plastic packs from California and Mexico.

But mostly, I do it for the taste. Sure, I can enjoy strawberries 12 months of the year, and I do at restaurants and friends gatherings. But I don't truly enjoy strawberries until they come from mother's yard, warm from the sun, ripe on the vine. The same is true for Palisade peaches and Rocky Ford cantaloupe, accept no imitations, wait for the real thing.

What's your favorite seasonal treat? What do you wait all year to enjoy?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beltane Fires

Blessed Beltane! Merry Mayday! Happy Walpurgis, International Workers Day, Valborg or any other excuses you have to build a bonfire and party with your comrades.

Beltane is an interesting transition time, officially spring begins on Eostre, the equinox, but around here the cold weather is clinging on. Colorado is notorious for unpredictable climes, and I know well enough to not put out the tomatoes until May Day as we can get snow 10 months of the year here in the city. So we are now moving into a steady warm season, with ever lengthening days and the greening earth.
Flower crown tutorial.

Traditionally Beltane was celebrated throughout the British Isles, honoring the sun god Bel. Great fires would be built and the livestock was run between two fires on their way out to summer pastures. This practice may have arisen from attempts to scare away evil spirits, or the more practical scaring off of predators and competition. Walpurgis and all it's relatives were also based around bonfires and merry-making.
Photo by Roddy Macd

In the earlier days of Industrialization and socialist movements May Day became International Workers Day. Besides being a day of celebration, it has been suggested that the largely rural farming workforce that was transitioning to factory work still enjoyed the holiday even after the older traditions (like running livestock) had dropped out of it.

No matter the focus of your celebration, this is a time of new awakenings and fresh starts. As we in the northern hemisphere enjoy the coming bounty and fertility of the land, raise a glass to the fire, to the land, and to the people who work it!