The Alchemical Kitchen: Preparing to plant
Use late winter’s time of waiting and transition to prepare for the season ahead.
by Rebecca Brenner
March is the month of new beginnings in the Alchemical Kitchen—especially this year. The seed packets ordered in January have arrived, and I am just days away from beginning my makeshift “greenhouse” in the guest bedroom. The wish-list of what I hope to preserve next fall has been written and posted in the cupboard next to the last of fall’s garlic stash. And I am waiting—sometimes patiently, most times anxiously—for the arrival of my first baby within the next month.
All of my yoga training has taught me less projection is best, but sometimes all a girl can do is mindfully plan and then lovingly lay it all down at Mother Nature’s feet. And so I’ve taken to writing lists. Lists of what I need to do for the upcoming season of preservation classes and harvest dinners at Copper Moose Farm. Lists of what I hope to make for our members of the new canning share offered this year at the farm. Lists of what will go into my own backyard garden this season. Lists of what I hope to preserve from my garden, my CSA* box and the farmers’ market. Lists of what needs to be done before baby comes. Lists of what I hope to do once she’s here.
I offer you, dear Alchemical Kitchen readers, one of these lists—what I hope to preserve at the end of the summer. This list helps me to know what to plant, what to save each week from my CSA share, and what to purchase at the farmers’ market. It’s a loose outline; I know that no matter how much I plan, each season brings unexpected goodies and challenges. But this may be what I love most about being in tune with local food sources: Even with all the plans, knowledge and recipes, the Alchemical Kitchen must always play with the shifting energies of the seasons. (I hear the same is true with raising children.)
My hope is that this list will serve as a springboard for your own imagination. May it get you thinking about planting your vegetable garden, joining your local CSA, and preserving some of this season’s bounty. I look forward to joining you next winter, baby on lap, at a table full of Utah’s own.
Pesto—arugula, spinach, and basil
Chicken from farm share
Beef from farm share
Store in basement:
Cultured mixed vegetables
Homemade vegetable roll-ups
Homemade fruit roll-ups
Tomatoes—whole and halved
Spicy chili sauce
Preserves—fruit and specialty
Peppers—mild and hot
Maybe greens this year
Mixed vegetables—cauliflower, carrots, garlic
Spicy green beans for Bloody Marys
Dilly green beans
Mixed berry vinegar
Mixed herb vinegar
Chive blossom vinegar
*If you would like to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), visit http://www.csautah.org.