Wednesday, April 18, 2012


If I'm going to be honest, I'd have to admit that spring in Wisconsin is always a bit odd.

But this year seemed odder than most.

For those of you who don't live around here, it got very warm, very early.  I was riding my scooter to work in March, which is unheard of.  I'm kind of a wimp, and I don't ride unless it's over 70.  The average temperature in March for Milwaukee (according to the internets) is 27-42 degrees.

So yeah.  A little warm.

The problem is that it was a sustained warmth.  The average temperature for this past March was 58 degrees, with a high of 84.  We're not supposed to hit an average temperature of 58 until May.

So what are you complaining about, Kate?  Sounds nice.  Enjoy the warmth!  Is this going to be a blog post about global warming or something?

No, it's not going to be a post about global warming.  I only have the energy to research food things.  And that's exhausting enough.

The problem is, that even though it was warm through most of March, eventually it had to, and did, go back to normal.

The average temperature for April in Milwaukee is 36-53 degrees.  Last week it was 25 degrees.  25 degrees is the tipping temperature for damaging budding trees.

You see, when it's May style warm in March, you get May style growth in your plants.  For me, this meant my daffodils and tulips bloomed, my lilacs budded, and all the weeds I love popped up (weeds I'm excited about = dandelions, violets, chives, oregano, and mint).  My roses started to grow, my rhubarb is almost ready for a round of picking, and I was able to start some lettuce and radishes in containers on my porch.  For me, an early warming is pretty much just awesome, since I live a block from Lake Michigan.  I never really thought about it that much...

But I have a farm to worry about this year!  Fruit orchards across Wisconsin are concerned because the warm weather caused budding.  Which means cold weather will kill those buds.  And, since fruit trees only bud once, killing those buds means no fruit this season.

So I checked in with my farm, because that is my biggest concern!

They let me know that the cold hasn't really been a concern for them.  They haven't planted yet (because they're smart farmers and aren't fooled by a warm March), and they don't have fruit trees of their own that could be damaged.  They also sent me some lovely pictures:

Peas and garlic.  What could be more spring like?  Also, apparently this garlic is especially strong, because it pushed through the mulch all on it's own, when they usually un-bury it to help.  There's no evidence that this will make it stronger tasting, but my fingers are crossed.   

I'm pretty excited to get out to the farm and get my hands dirty.  I'm hopefully not too much of a wimpy city girl for Jess and Sam!  If you're considering a CSA, and you like garlic and peas (and other stuff too...), check them out!

I wanted to leave you today with a recipe.  It's spring, and the dandelions are blooming.  You know what that means!  DANDELION RECIPES!  I've got a few things I want to try this year, but this one was quick and worked out quite well.  And, free food is always best!

(I did have a bit of a fun moment whilest picking the dandelions.  My across the street neighbor said "hi" as he was leaving his house.  I ran into him later and he asked me if he saw correctly that I was weeding the front lawn into a large mixing bowl.  When I responded yes, he just gave me a sort of crazy-eyed look and walked away.  It's cool, dude.  I'm eating dandelions.   You should too!)

This recipe features ingredients picked from my back yard.  It also made me want to get a little artistic in my photos...

Dandelion Fritters:

  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced chives
  • 1 tbsp mint
  • 30 dandelion flowers (pick them when wide open, and use right away)
  • 1/4 cup oil (or be extra delicious and use bacon fat... that's what I did!)
Whisk together milk and egg.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.  Dip each flower into the batter, and fry in hot oil until brown - about 3 minutes on each side.

I served these with a yoghurt mint dipping sauce (Yoghurt, mint, chives, fresh garlic, and black pepper)

SO GOOD!!!!  Don't be afraid of dandelions.  Give them a try.  They've been food longer than you've been around.   You can buy them at the store for lots of money.  Give up the pesticide, and give in to free food!!!!

If I make them look like food, are you more likely to believe they're food?

1 comment:

  1. Still. Not. Food.

    But the picture almost fools me into thinking it is!