To ‘put by’ is an old deep-country way of saying to ‘save something you don’t have to use now, against the time when you’ll need it.’ Janet Greene, Putting Food By
Food preservation and storage have been practiced for ages. This comes to mind now that we are in March, and face the characteristic dearth of springtime.
Paradoxically, as the earth begins to awaken, food from the land is still very scarce.
Wildlife, especially plant-eating animals such as deer, rabbits and squirrels are hungry and beehive owners will often need to provide supplementary food for their bees.
Before modern times, late winter and early spring could be very harsh indeed for many people in North America. Making it all the way through the winter and spring until the land could produce again was a major undertaking every year. Putting food by was a necessary means of survival.
But not all of us have the resources for root-cellars, brining, canning, pickling, salting, smoking and other ways to preserve food over this period.
Though putting food by was a must for our ancestors to survive the late winter / early spring months, for most of us, this is not much concern, because we can zip over to a grocery store and buy food stocked on the shelves (though it may have been kept in cold storage preserved with chemicals for some period of time). It’s that easy.
Fortunately, our local farmers do have a few local, fresh produce items available.
What is Available for Delivery / Pickup on March 14
Although fresh, local produce is scarce, we are still able to offer a few items. Chesapeake Organic has a nice variety produce. Deep Grass has kale and spinach and Hattie’s Garden has very nice hakurei turnips (with nice greens).
We advise you to please place your orders, especially if you are going to want produce items, as soon as possible. With only limited quantities available, we do expect to sell out quickly of most of these vegetables.
You can always place another order before the Wednesday noon deadline if you want to add other items. If you do submit a second order form for the same week, it is helpful to indicate that in the message section so that I know I have already started an order for you.
Farming has given me an idea of what making through winter and spring must have been and how fortunate I am to have enough to eat. In the past few weeks, the locally grown vegetables I can find to eat begin to get monotonous as they diminish in variety. I do like kale and turnips. I do like cabbage and spinach. But I dream of lettuce so abundant that I can eat all the salad I want, of green beans and of tomatoes, fresh summer squash and fresh herbs, and oh those fresh berries!
In the meantime, I will have to be content with placing little tomato seeds and lettuce seeds into my seed starting soil and assisting them with a little “bottom” heat so they can break out of their seed coatings and germinate. It is an absolutely amazing miracle to watch a tiny seed grow into a plant so big it must be trellised and pruned!
Hattie’s Garden Gardening Classes
Our gardening classes at Hattie’s Garden will be delayed until we can actually spend some of the meeting time outside. If the weather warms up the next couple of weeks and everything thaws and dries out, Hattie’s Garden will plan on holding gardening classes beginning the very end of March and continuing into the first half of April.
We will keep you posted on the details as soon as possible, including information on how to register.
Yours, excited the snow is melting,