Spring has to be the most exciting time on the farm. It is an energizing start to a new season, as things on the farm come alive again. Once the weather starts to change we start to get to work on preparing for the new season. To me the best part of spring and what makes it so exciting is all the firsts. Taking note of all the changes as the farm awakens. The first sprig of asparagus found, first crop in the ground, first harvest, first planting, first meal with our own veggies, first market day and the first handful of our own strawberries. As we are working each day in the spring we make note of these exciting firsts and when we regroup at meals or at the shop we share the exciting new things we discovered that day. My absolute favourite first of spring is watching a newborn calf trying out their “new legs”. It is so cool how it happens. First there are a few attempts to stand, once that is conquered, it is a few wobbles before they can stand and then not long after that they are running and kicking with sheer joy at this awesome new discovery.
Picking the first few crops is real pleasure too!! This spring we started eating our own food early. We had several meals of asparagus in early April and not to long after that we had the fiddleheads poking out. At the first sight of a rhubarb stalk emerging Marlene was asking if the plants were big enough yet so she could make Rod a rhubarb pie. After a long winter without having a backyard full of all the fruits and veggies you would ever want, we are all chomping at the bit to get out there and pick our own food. Totally spoiled I know. This year has been great for that; everything is about 2 weeks earlier than other years. We are now picking asparagus, rhubarb, spinach, green garlic and soon strawberries and peas too. We have been finding handfuls of red ones in last year’s day-neutrals and our June berries have lots of green fruit and bloom and even a few red ones in the Annapolis.
This year we also for the first time have a new crop to try. Our haskap (also known as honeyberry) flowered and have some fruit developing right now. We planted these plants 3 years ago and this is the first year for fruit. Haskap are an amazingly hardy, fast growing, high yielding, great tasting berry bush that is relatively new to North America. Apparently they are super popular in Japan because of all there health benefits. Haskaps are an edible honeysuckle that originates from Siberia. I don’t really know about the name haskap though it sounds more like a type of punctuation mark than a fruit to me. Honeyberry sounds much tastier.
So far we have only found a few berries. They look like oblong blueberries. Basically you can eat them the same way you do blueberries; eat them fresh, in baking, as jams & jellies, frozen, or whatever else you may think of, get creative with this new fruit. As we get more I will be sure to update you on my opinion and uses for them and hopefully we will get enough to bring some to market for others to try. New things are always exciting to try especially when they are good for you too. Honeyberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Honey berries are said to be a useful addition in the prevention of a number of chronic conditions, e.g., cancer, diabetes mellitus, tumor growth, and cardiovascular diseases.
It is hard to believe how quick the spring has gone. It is June 1st today. I guess all the days have gone by planting this year’s crops but it seems hard to believe that it is June and full swing markets and picking are just ahead of us. Time flies when you are having fun I guess!!