Chow Town

May 2, 2013

Go for the greens now

Chilly spring weather means growing season is four weeks behind.

Chow Town

The daily dish on Kansas City's food and drink scene

Having high expectations the land would be dotted with tiny electric sprouts of green against the dark soil, we set out to visit some of the farms we use at the restaurant.

In slight disappointment, our feet sunk into the soggy, wet and cold ground. The fields were untouched to some degree because to plant on such water-logged soil would only impact the seedlings making it difficult to grow.

What does this mean, for you and me? We wait. The farmers are about four weeks behind what they consider a “normal” season.

Not only has this extended period of chilliness affected the plants but our local animals, too. They are having difficulties with the constant wet grounds, and will grow and thrive better with the sun is out longer.

While Mother Nature allows her daughter, Spring, to hold onto Old Man Winter like a favorite pair of jeans, what do we eat? Greens! Yes, all those big leafy things you stare at each farmers market and have no idea what to do with them, eat them.

Kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, lettuces and more tasty little emeralds will be everywhere at your local market. These have probably made it through the winter, or they have been growing in a hoop house (ground covered by a structure) or in a greenhouse (plants grown in pots in a temperature controlled house). Both of these ways have helped extend the season, and thank goodness, as I am craving freshness.

This weekend when you are looking at a table of green leaves, pick a bunch and decide to be adventurous. Try a few new recipes; ask the farmers questions on how they fix the greens for their families. Have a conversation about their property.

Embrace the season of change and new growth, as the hot sun will be around the corner, and the fields bursting with flavor.

Renee Kelly is chef/owner of Renee Kelly’s Harvest , a farm-to-table restaurant in Johnson County.

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