Am I the only one craving dark leafy greens?

by Natasha Hegmann

What is it about the brutal cold and endless snow that make me long for a bottomless bowl of spinach or arugula?

Our winter bodies are getting tired of the long wait for spring; they are hungry for sunshine and fresh, delicious food.

Luckily, our bodies and cravings are right on schedule!

On February 1st we emerged from the what vegetable growers know as the "Persephone period" of winter, or the period of time when the days are less than 10 hours long.

You might recognize Persephone from Greek mythology. The story goes that Persephone's, mom, Demeter, (the Goddess of the Harvest) was livid when her only daughter decided to marry Hades. Demeter angrily turned the earth to a cold barren wastland when Persephone decended to the underworld for the honeymoon. But gods nor mortals could stand the prospect of eternal winter, so Persephone decided to compromise for the greater good: she's spend just a few months down in hell with her honey and the rest of the year on earth as the Goddess of Fertility and Spring.

Or something like that.

frost on snowy kale

The Persephone period marks the darkest time of the year. Farmers and gardeners use this myth to plan for season extension and growing amazing cold-hardy plants (like spinach!) that are able to survive the brutal cold of deep winter.  During the Persephone period the growth of plants nearly stops completely. The spinach stays alive, though, and as soon as the days begin to lengthen and the temperature rises they'll be growing and thriving in the very early spring.

And now, the race to grow again begins! In a couple of weeks the days will be ELEVEN hours long, and from there, the equinox is right around the corner.

So go ahead, start dreaming up your spring garden plans, poke some seeds into the soil under grow lights OR sign up for a share of seasonal produce from Turkey River Farm (or a farmer near you!). Persephone is back and ready to make things grow!