I think I see a glimmer of spring! Each day, little hints of the season come our way. As I was out with the dog early this morning, a few green sprouts were popping out of the no-longer-frozen ground. Snowy days have turned to rainy ones, which means the growing season may finally be drawing near. As the winters seem to get colder and snowier, the onset of spring is even more welcomed and appreciated. I have become a hermit during this difficult season, and I’m ready for a change. Too often over the last few months evening plans were canceled because I simply didn’t want to go outside. Plus, I only made it to one winter farmers market all season! And I am confident in saying that I was not the only person who changed my routine this year due to the weather.
As consumers, we are lucky; this winter’s weather likely did not have a detrimental impact on our lives. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for food producers; a large part of the food community can’t make it out of a winter like this one unscathed.
I may have missed the social aspect of eating out with friends, but reservation cancellations at a restaurant mean wasted food and less income, or even no income, for the wait staff. I missed spending time getting to know farmers at markets, but slow market days mean even less income for farmers during a season when income is already difficult to come by. I missed catching up with the owners of small, independently owned stores as I opted for closer-to-home one-stop shopping at a large supermarket, but I promise you those owners missed my business even more.
Thankfully, all of this will soon be restored as the weather changes. Spring is a season of renewal—warmer days bring fresh starts and positive change, so let’s take advantage. Bottom line is that with the arrival of spring, we need to get back into our non-winter routines, and do so quickly.
Farm stands are opening for the season, so let’s start shopping there earlier than we might have in the past. Let’s choose to support local businesses by eating out a little more than usual or going out of our way to specialty food shops. Perhaps stop by a favorite local bakery that’s seen slower business this winter.
One of the best ways to support the existence and growth of local food production is with our dollars. So think about the people and places you missed over the winter and bring them back into your lives sooner rather than later. Their livelihood depends on it!
Ilene Bezahler Publisher/Editor