Spring Has Sprung

It's all about losing weight

And the Bellevue Farmers Market can't open soon enough! Besides our local meat and dairy, the remains of my husband's homegrown butternut squash (we still have six!), and one last jar of homemade salsa, the UrbanFarmJunkie's family is once again on the 10,000-mile diet. We've got the greens from California. The citrus from Texas, California, and Florida. The asparagus from Mexico(!)--forgive me--it was so alluring I couldn't resist. We're eking by on the last of the Washington pears, but I can't do the now-mealy local apples anymore, and I can't bring myself to buy New Zealand ones. Everyone draws the line somewhere. I could, I suppose, haul my behind over to some of the other farmers markets which are already (or still) open, but I'm such a lazy bum I can't do it.

How lazy am I? I enlisted my twelve-year-old to plant basil and mint seeds in little pots because I wanted to stop stealing the neighbor's herbs. But then--just after the little miracle seedlings sprouted--the kids played ball or tag or something in the house with friends over. The baby herbs got knocked over, the dirt spilled out, and that was the end of my agricultural enterprise.

The laziness is a bummer, considering this news release with the alluring title, "Too Much Sitting Can Kill You, Study Suggests." How much sitting is too much sitting? Well, "Australian researchers found that mortality risks spike after 11 hours of total daily sitting but are still 15 percent higher for those sitting between 8 and 11 hours compared to those sitting fewer than 4 hours per day." Who sits for only four hours per day?? Question from the audience: What about lying down? At least one of my daily eight+ hours of lumping around comes in the form of lying, fully-extended on the couch.

On the plus side, I also found you all this bit of good news, which might help counteract all that life-threatening sitting we're all doing: "Eating Chocolate Regularly May Make You Leaner, Survey Suggests." Better yet, you have to eat the chocolate frequently to experience the benefits. As in, five times a week, while you loll on the couch watching Mariners games.

For those of you who aren't quite my equals in sluggard-dom, you're probably thinking of getting your own mini home farms going, this time of year. Chuck McClung in Grow Northwest offers these suggestions for "crops" that flourish in our wet, cool part of the world (he's in Bellingham):

  1. Ground cherries. Huh? He says they're something like tomatillos. I remember Ma Ingalls making ground cherry preserves in one of the Little House books, but surely they were a different plant..?
  2. Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem Artichokes. They're tasty in salads for some crunch.
  3. Chioggia beets. Like regular beets, only pretty and stripe-y inside.
  4. Mache, also known as Lamb's Lettuce. As he points out, these are often only found at farmers markets because of how perishable they are.
  5. Lemon cucumbers. I bought a couple of these at the market last year. Look like lemons, taste like cucumbers.
  6. Ball Zucchini. We haven't grown zucchini since the year we grew the infamous "Park Bench" specimen. I swear it went from a standard zucchini to furniture proportions overnight, but isn't that always how it is, with zucchini? Supposedly these ones will max out at the size of grapefruits, but you're supposed to pick them as "tennis balls."
  7. Sweet banana peppers. Ooh, I find this one most tempting because I love sweet peppers. Maybe I can get the twelve-year-old to plant some for me.

Now that you've read this post, get up and take a lap around the house or office! And don't forget to grab some chocolate at the vending machine before you park it again.