by Jean Blish Siers *
Less than a week into official spring, my little backyard garden is in the full throes of new birth! Amidst the last of the fall leaves, shoots of fragile green plants push out of the soil: onions, arugula, lettuce, kale, peas! And perhaps most exciting: my first ever asparagus spears. In this case, gratification must be delayed for another year, as I let strong crowns develop that will hopefully produce for years to come.
I’ve checked in with some of the farmers who work with us. Many are sowing potatoes, spring greens, onions, and other cool weather crops. Others have greenhouses filled with tiny bedding plants, which will produce tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other wonderful vegetables. Peach trees are in bloom. It will still be a while before they harvest most of what they’re planting now, and longer still until they are ready to have us come and glean what remains after they have sold what they can.
But already folks are calling. Just as I am filled with hope each time I walk into my back yard to see what has sprouted, our recipient agencies are hopeful that as winter turns to spring, Society of St. Andrew will once again bring them something fresh to supplement the more standard items in their kitchen pantry. They look forward to fresh lettuce and strawberries in May and June, corn and tomatoes in July and August. They are delighted by squash and cucumbers in the summer, pumpkins and greens in the fall. And I hate having to tell them to be patient; to wait a while longer.
Lent continues for another week, as we move from the triumphal waving of palms on Sunday to the somber introspection of Holy Week, to the promise of new life on Easter Sunday. This is a time of year for waiting, for hoping, for working towards brighter months ahead!
* Jean Blish Siers is SoSA’s Charlotte Area Gleaning Coordinator, and a regular contributor to this News & Events blog.