I crave the bright, bitter and spicy flavors of spring.

 
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Every winter I reach a point where I wonder do I even like vegetables anymore? I start out certain my love of delicata squash filled with roasted cauliflower and pork sausage will never wane. For months we enjoy a simple rotation of roasted root and cruciferous vegetables paired with small portions of local poultry, meat, and fish. I make bone broth, soup, and stew. There is a rhythm to meal planning and prep. Our bodies naturally crave these warm, densely nutritious foods through the colder months.

But as the weather warms and spring storms move through I-just-don't-want-these-warm-and-hearty-meals-anymore. 

I reached this point about a month and a half ago. I tried to diversify our diet. We made salads, they tasted flat. This is that moment I told you about. The time of year I seriously question if I even liked vegetables anymore. Perplexed, I planned fewer dinners, we ate out more. We even discovered a pizza place that delivers really good gluten free pies. As enjoyable as it was this temporary solution quickly lost appeal. We needed to find another way. Truth be told, we needed the growing season to hurry up.

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When we examine this predicament through the lens of Ayurvedic medicine my struggle makes sense. This ancient wisdom tradition teaches us to find balance in the body by aligning our diet with the properties of each season. Winter is characterized as cool and dry which is why we find hearty soups and stews so satisfying on a winter night. But what happens when our winter is mild and spring comes early? Intuitively one would think, as I did, simply adjust your diet to include lighter spring foods such as lettuce and radish. This didn't work for me in February tho because none of the ingredients available had any bite. In Ayurveda it isn't simply enough to eat a particular food - you need to experience the flavor, the taste. 

To Stay Strong and Healthy [in the Spring] Eat more foods that are Pungent (Spicy), Bitter, Astringent / Light, Dry, Warm: such as flavorful steamed veggies, brothy soups, brown rice.
— John Douillard

Fortunately Fiddler's Green Farm started to provide the Boise Co-op with fresh, local arugula, spinach and radishes last week. As soon as I tasted these sharp, bright, and spicy flavors I knew this is what I've been missing!

Meals come together quickly once again. A simple arugula salad with radish, olive oil, a squeeze of lime and sea salt. A few slices of avocado. A side of chicken. Meal planning is easy when you look forward to vegetable(s) as the main course and just need to plan a protein and healthy fat to pair with it. Tonight we'll have a salad with... fresh fish, a steak, or leftover rotisserie chicken. What a relief. I haven't fallen out of love with vegetables. I simply don't like the lifeless options of the end of winter. 

Pesto (made & Frozen last summer) on brown rice pasta with arugula, snap peas, VT cheddar (a gift from home). Dinner Enjoyed on the patio for the first time this year.

Pesto (made & Frozen last summer) on brown rice pasta with arugula, snap peas, VT cheddar (a gift from home). Dinner Enjoyed on the patio for the first time this year.

The Boise Farmers Market Opens Tomorrow Morning

April 7, 2018 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

10th & Grove Downtown Boise ID, 83702

On my shopping list:

Fiddler's Green Farm: Spinach, salad mix, radish, green garlic. And if I get there early enough locally grown flowers. Swoon!

Next Generation Organics: cold hardy vegetable starts. Elayne and Bart grow the very best. 

Purple Sage Farms: dried holy basil for tea, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

We still have a freezer full of locally sourced fish, poultry and meat as well as eggs from our neighbor. So I don't need anything like this...but... 

I am excited to see what other vendors have for sale. I am sure to fill up my basket with all sorts of delightful things. I will be back tomorrow afternoon with the first installment of my 2018 #seasonallymemarketbasket (Help! I need a shorter hashtag for this project). 


Resources

EBT Match Program at The Boise Farmers Market: Double Up Food Bucks Program is a project providing incentives to encourage healthier food choices for SNAP recipients with a one-to-one match up to $10.00 per transaction (limit of 2). The Double Up Food Bucks can be used for fresh fruit and vegetables only. The Double Up Food tokens are dispersed at the red information booth along with the SNAP tokens.

Interested in learning more about Ayruveda? The Yoga Healer offers comprehensive resources free of charge.


Are you going to the market either here in Boise, ID or where you live? Let me know in the comments below.