May Perambulations

The majesty of May is upon us- the pure essence of a season concentrated into one glorious month. John Muir, the famous naturalist and explorer, stated that “the clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness”. I would propose that a woodland walk in May might be the surest way of getting a prescient glimpse into the mysteries of life Mr. Muir was referring to. If you go hiking early in the month you will be treated to the blooming of the spring ephemerals, small herbaceous plants that flower briefly in the spring before the trees fully leaf out. Blood root, trout lilies, violets, hepatica and trilliums reveal their delicate, evanescent beauty before retiring until the next year. Wait another week or two and the lady slippers and jack-in-the pulpits will show off their unique floral attributes while the returning song birds greet you with the contagious optimism that is so prevalent this time of the year.


Foraging for Wild Forest Edibles The woodlands are also a source for culinary delights in the spring. Ramps, also known as wild leeks, have a beguiling taste profile somewhat like a cross between the flavors of onion and garlic. They can be eaten raw or incorporated into sauces, soups and stir fries. Unfortunately, ramps are often over-harvested to the point where there is concern for their sustainability in various locations. Wild leeks are also a featured ingredient in South River Miso’s legendary dandelion leek miso. The wild leeks and dandelion greens are sustainably harvested from their sixty acre farm bordering the South River in Conway, Massachusetts and are incorporated into their hearty brown rice miso that has been aged in cypress wood vats for at least three summers. After another three months of aging the miso is ready to bestow its restorative powers to anyone willing to enjoy it. May is also the season for fiddleheads, the coiled fronds of the ostrich fern before they begin to unfurl. Steam the fiddleheads first, then sauté them in butter or olive oil for a delightful taste of spring. You don’t even have to venture into the woods for the ubiquitous dandelion, one of the most nutritious greens (or weeds) you can find. Harvest them in your own yard for a wild crafted salad or stir fry as local as you can get. If foraging in the wilds is not your thing, then take a walk on the wild side of Rob and James’ produce case for ramps, fiddleheads, dandelions and local organic greens.


“Plant a carrot, get a carrot,         from the musical The Fantasticks 1960

Not a Brussels sprout.                        music by Harvey Schmidt, lyrics by Tom Jones

That’s why I love vegetables,           The world’s longest running musical (42 years; 17,162 performances!)

You know what you’re about!”     


May is plant- your- garden time here in New England and we have the seeds to get you started. High Mowing Seed Company based in Wolcott, Vermont offers a variety of organic, non-GMO heirloom, open pollinated and hybrid seeds selected specifically for our challenging northeast climate. If you are searching for the freshest local organic produce with an energy footprint measured in terms of calories and footsteps instead of combustible fossil fuels, look no further than your own back yard or community garden. With over 50 varieties of vegetable seeds to choose from, you can customize your garden to any size and satisfy your culinary and nutritional requirements. We also have three kinds of organic sunflower seeds to plant for your own enjoyment and that of the finches, cardinals and grosbeaks as well.


Memorial Day weekend kicks off the BBQ season for 2017. Natural hardwood charcoal will impart that primal, smoky flavor without the petroleum distillates found in commercial charcoal. Natural steaks, ground beef, chickens, sausages and kielbasa are available for your grill. Vegans can get their own thrill-of-the-grill on with organic eggplant, Portobello mushrooms, peppers, asparagus, leeks and an assortment of meat and cheese substitutes. Natural and organic BBQ sauces, mustards, marinades and ketchups without artificial colors, additives or preservatives will add another dimension to your grilling prowess. Chill while you grill with one or two of Joseph’s curated craft brew selections. If you need help making up your mind, just look the gentleman (?) with the beard that rivals Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.


Happy Mother’s Day! Lisa in the Wellness Dept. can suggest some gift ideas for all the wonderful moms out there with her eclectic array of lotions, potions and notions.


“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”  Rabindranath Tagore (Bengali poet)