The long countdown to spring makes the transition to new seasonal foods even more welcome. Soon a whole list of spring food favorites will be available in Minnesota – maple syrup, asparagus, rhubarb, morel mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns just to name a few.
Why worry or complain about the cold, gray days? Instead, prepare for a big change.
In the meantime, make the best of what is already out there. Fight the elements and take command early, despite the weather. Ten things that you can do now to jump start spring include:
1. Restaurant Patios: Visit an outdoor grocery store, bakery, bar or restaurant patio. Mozza Mia had staff setting up their patio furniture after the last snow to prepare for customers wanting to sit outside. Dedicated souls braved the elements right after the April 18 snow storm at the Red Cow. You can do the same.
2. Sparrow Café: Check out the new Sparrow Café at 50th Street and Penn Avenue South. This new coffee shop has a bird theme from floor to ceiling. The grandeur of spring comes to life in bird murals with bright as spring robin egg blue backgrounds that decorate every wall. They almost chirp with delight and you will too.
3. Flower Decorated Cupcakes: Treat yourself to a cupcake decorated with spring flowers. The Twin cities has many cupcake boutiques that take baking to a new level like Cupcake Boutique & Bakery and Cupcakes Caramel by Sweets Bakeshop and more. The cupcake has risen to the rank of fine art. Make your objet d’art an edible masterpiece of floral inspiration.
4. Seasonal Vegetables: Cook up some spring fresh produce. While the local delicacies are weeks away from harvest, some of the shipped in produce really is not too bad. Try steamed asparagus even if it is from California.
5. Farmers Markets: Find out where your closest farmers market is located and when opening day is this year. Minnesota Grown has an inclusive statewide list. Many new markets opened during the past few seasons. Think about visiting some different markets too. Each farmers market has its own unique personality, food selection and flavor.
6. Garden Plans: Make plans to grow some of your own food. An herb garden of parsley and oregano is easy to begin either in a pot or a regular garden bed.
7. Grilling Get Ready: Admit it. You want to be the first one on your block to enjoy Webber weather. Take inventory of the grilling gadgets required for a barbecue out in your own yard or a nearby park. Got charcoal, lighter fluid, matches and a rugged oven mitt? How about special utensils for the grill, including a metal spatula, locking tongs, long fork and skewers? Having the right grilling gadgets on hand will make your barbecue a complete success.
8. Ice Cream Stash: Stock up on ice cream. Stores like Cub Foods have featured super deals on Kemps blocks and plastic pails lately. What is better on a hot day than an over-flowing dish of ice cream that starts melting before you can eat it all? Who knows if an ice cream emergency will come up before that warm sunny date.
9. Hide Evidence of Winter: Put away all unnecessary remnants of winter — no more Christmas-themed cooking gadgets or decorations please. Even Valentine’s Day and Easter are distant memories. It is late April after all.
10. Spring Cleaning: Straighten up kitchen cupboards and countertops. Clean out your fridge. Who knows what you will find? Tidying pays off because you will have more room to properly store the upcoming spring and summer bounty.
And you thought things would not get busy until summer. Start now, to make a smooth transition from the confined doldrums of winter to the fancy-free warm days of spring and enjoy different foods. You can can spring forward with food.