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Craving warmth and garden-grown food

I want it to be warm.

I want the snow to be gone.

I want it to be full-blown spring, with a light breeze, and green shoots coming out of the ground.

You can have your daffodils and snowdrops. I want something I can eat.

If this wasn’t a winter for the ages, it’s one that has felt like it aged us. It’s been harsh and even cruel at times. And then there was that storm that dumped another batch of snow on us Wednesday, March 12.

Six weeks ago, some groundhog in Pennsylvania said that we’d have six more weeks of winter.

The question is how much more will we have from here? Forget the groundhog. Let’s kill him, put him on a spit and eat him at this point.

February is the longest month, at least in how it feels around these parts.

But it’s March now. And today would be the day that historically some gardeners would have planted peas in the garden. I doubt that’s happening this year. But I hope it does soon.

Spring means that some days will feel like February and others like April and I can live with that. But I’m rooting for the latter. I think most of us are. We’re just done with this long winter season that dumped snow before we’d eaten the Thanksgiving turkey and hasn’t let up.

Spring fever is infecting us. Which means we’ll wear shorts outside before we really should. And just smile a goofy smile because the sun is shining.

I ate outside on Monday. I got a salad and sat at a picnic table along the Elkhart RiverWalk. The sun felt good. Forty-two degrees felt almost balmy. And I can’t wait to do it more.

Trips to warmer places offer respite from the winter, but what I want is to stay home for a while and enjoy warm weather here.

I don’t want to forget winter. I want to remember it and relish that it isn’t winter as the grass grows where the snow is. The birds should sing louder and longer than they ever have. And maybe there will even be hens clucking in backyards in Goshen.

I want to plant something in the soil and tend it until it creates something delicious. I want to see honey bees leaving a hive and seeking out the first pollen of the sprint. And I look forward to the local asparagus that’s so fresh, so crisp you almost don’t need to cook it before biting into a tender spear.

I grilled as the snow fell on New Year’s Eve, but I want to use that trusty Weber even more this summer. I want to taste the glorious char on a ribeye that only charcoal can infuse with the perfect blend of smoke.

I want to pick herbs and chop them into a salad. I want to pick strawberries and eat as many of them as I pick as I put into the bucket. I want an ear of Sweet Corn Charlie’s finest, shucked, boiled, buttered and salted. And I want a taste of fair food.

I want a cone from The Chief on a day so hot that to keep the ice cream from dripping away you have to eat it so fast you get one of those headaches. And then I want to bike home with my sticky fingers on the handlebars of the Schwinn I’ve missed this winter.

I want to sweat while I mow the lawn and enjoy a cold beverage when I’m done. And I want to taste a popsicle after a rigorous game of Ultimate Frisbee in which someone lays out to catch a flying disc and tumbles onto the lush, thick and soft lawn.

But lest you think I only want to do things when the weather warms, I also want to just sit outside. I want to sit and take deep breaths as the summer sun sets later than it would if we didn’t have daylight saving time or live at the western edge of the Eastern time zone.

(By the way, we’re putting a list together of the outdoor dining spots in the area. If you have a suggestion, you can call, email or leave a comment on this story. Or get in touch with Gwen Ragno, who’s managing the project for Truth Publishing Co.)

I want to sit on the patio at McCarthy’s or b on the River and watch the river meander by. I want to take a picnic to Lake Michigan, maybe with a jar of bacon jam from Local in New Buffalo.

The summer days will feel long and glorious. And then they’ll start to shorten and autumn will come. And that will bring apples and frost on that green grass and butternut squash.

But by that point, I hope it’ll have been one of the best summers we can remember. I hope that we’ll have had plentiful rain and enough sun so that when talk about the sweet corn crop as the year it tasted like candy and the local tomato crop as the one that never quit and never tasted so good.

And I hope Seed to Feed has so much produce from its gardens and the community gardens that there’s not room for canned goods on the shelves at Church Community Services.

It’s time to fill the potholes and get ready to till the gardens. It’s time to clean up the dead leaves that fell along with the snow last fall. And I can’t wait.

Whether you think this winter was because of climate change or disproves it, we made it through this one. It’s been rough. But it’s almost over.

Spring will come. And then summer. And I can’t wait.

I’m hungry. Let’s eat. 

Marshall V. King is managing editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805,, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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