The first farmer’s markets of the season open next week. The early-season options are: City Hall Plaza (Monday and Wednesdays), City Hall Plaza (Tuesdays and Fridays), Central Square (Mondays) and Davis Square (Wednesdays). I want to be excited, but I know that the first few weeks of the farmers markets are really just a matter of establishing a presence. I think they hope that after three or four weeks of seeing signs, people will remember that the market is open and actually go, just in time for some produce to arrive. Until then, we few overeager types will be trying to keep a good New England stiff upper lip while considering the choices – radishes, lettuce, rhubarb, and some quick breads. Inside, we will all be wishing we lived in California.
You know what’s in season in California? Strawberries. And they’ve been eating them for weeks, months even. I believe that April and May are the worst months to be a food lover in Massachusetts. Eating turnips and parsnips and potatoes can be comforting and a bit earthily noble in January and February. But now it’s spring, it’s warm and we should get to eat something fresh, damnit. Even the strictest can succumb to the siren call of those shipped strawberries, which are inevitable firm and bland. And even those in whom the New England blood runs as thick as clam chowder start to ask, “Why on earth did anyone ever settle this far north?”