Happy April! There’s no worse time to be a locavore, in my opinion, than the month of March. I don’t mind winter, when potatoes and squash are roasted, braised and otherwise dished up along side comforting stews and other hearty meals. But by March, they’ve gotten old. Inevitably here in Washington we’ll have an unexpected warm day that prompts shopping for new spring clothes, and suddenly asparagus and strawberry recipes are popping up on blogs and websites. But you see, asparagus and strawberries aren’t actually in season just yet — no matter how much you try to will them into appearing at the farmers market. In fact, some of our seasonal markets don’t even open till May.
Now I’m not above buying a carton or two of Florida strawberries for my son (oh, how his eyes light up when he sees them at the grocery!), but the first thing that really reassures me that spring will eventually arrive are the cherry blossoms’ arrival. The key to surviving Cherry Blossom season as a local is to get down the the Tidal Basin on a weekday before the official start of the festival — though sometimes visiting relatives don’t always cooperate. I picked the kids up early last Friday and staged a (brief) photo shoot (on Hains Point, for you locals) as it was a brisk 40ish degrees, unfortunately. (That’s the other thing about spring in DC — one week it’s 40 with a chance of snow, and the next it’s sunny and 80 degrees.)
I was excited to find that we can order our own flowering cherry trees from the Arbor Day Foundation, so in future years we can take our annual spring photos right in our own backyard. (A portion of the proceeds benefits the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which in turn is fundraising for Japan relief efforts this year.)
You may know that Washington’s cherry blossom trees were a gift from Japan 99 years ago – it’s hard to reconcile their ethereal beauty with the images of the devastation in Japan today. I’m pleased to share that I’m a contributor to Peko Peko: A Charity Cookbook for Japan. Visit the website for a sneak peak, and I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s available for purchase.
April will be Kitchen Garden month here at FoodieTots, so check back to see what we’re planting and share what you plan to grow this year!