It’s a heartless headline, maybe. But historically it’s accurate. Pre-supermarkets, pre-freezers, and pre processed foods with used by dates years away, spring was the time that people starved. It still can be in subsistence societies with a temperate climate. Winter, although cold, is easy to get through with the bounty of autumn. Cabbages, broccoli, greens, carrots and beetroot can all be held for months in the field- not growing or changing over the cool winter season. Pumpkins, potatoes and onions store happily even without electricity for a number of months.
But with the warmth of early spring, plants held mature in the paddock over winter, start bolting to flower (hence the abundance of broccoli in everyone’s boxes, sorry!) Potatoes and onions carefully stored start softening and sprouting away. We can’t even harvest honey for a few months- spring is the biggest starvation time for bees too!
While the sunny days of Spring also kick off the growing season, veggies take time to grow. 5 weeks for the quickest greens and radishes. 8-12 weeks for baby beets, and carrots. And the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and other summer veg we’re all hanging out for- well. They’ve been in the greenhouse for the last month, and still have another month to go before they’re even planted into the soil.
It’s not all bad news: spring is lush with greens (so many greens!), and herbs. And we’re also seeing the seasonal spring produce start to appear: asparagus, (autumn planted) peas, fennel and globe artichokes. Spring onions, green garlic and leeks are beautifully tender. Rhubarb is sprouting and broad beans and strawberries are setting, but only tiny yet, so they still have a few weeks ahead of them on the plant. Best of all, now days we don’t actually go hungry in the hungry gap. We have plenty of rice, flour, lentils and pasta to keep us going. But the limited veg on offer does make curating a veggie box with a good variety of produce more challenging, and it makes eating locally and in season more difficult.
Keep an eye out for Amy’s lovely recipes and Fran’s cooking prompts in the What’s in the box, and please let us know if you’re having trouble using up a particular ingredient- we’re always happy to help with ideas, or swap if you tell us an ingredient you never want 🙂
Thank you for sticking with us through the greens, if not the hunger! And look forward with us to the summer bounty already growing. We’ve got 300 watermelon and rock melon seedlings growing and can’t wait to share them with you all!