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It’s hard to feel all pumped up for spring and summer fun when the weather is schizophrenic, but at least our cool, gray days have fallen during the week recently. (I give last Saturday the first “10” of the season.) Along with those pretty little blooms popping up everywhere, there are some very welcome sights to the produce section. Last weekend at Whole Foods, I found sizable heirloom tomatoes that were ripe and, pleasantly, not mushy. Surely, they’re not locally grown, but I was desperate for a taste of summer.

I also bought a basil plant and a perfectly round, snow-white, baseball-size hunk of buffalo mozzarella. Matched with baby arugula, grilled radicchio and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the trio was extraordinary. I served up some grilled lollipop lamb chops and halibut filets, too, for a quintessential summer meal. With every bite, I got closer and closer to June, when everything starts hitting the markets (except the tomatoes, of course).

So what’s my point?

Don’t give up: Spring is definitely here, and summer’s just around the corner. The official start to planting season is only a week away. That means no sleeping in on Saturday—it’s going to be a beautiful weekend, and you need to get that patio or deck swept, plus the tables and chairs wiped down and set out in full feng shui fashion. It might also be a good idea to get a back-up propane tank.

While you’re at it, start scanning the markets for deals on vegetable and herb plants. I made out pretty well at Whole Foods on Saturday, with 18-inch-high tomato plants for less than five bucks.

If you really want to get yourself in the mood, load up on a variety of herbs and a pretty new pot, and plant a container herb garden to put right outside your kitchen door. It’s a great—and easy—way to get yourself excited about all the wonderful ingredients still to come. 
 

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