What Snow Makes Me Think About

March 29, 2009 at 11:04 am

Rob Gardner

Having sat through a couple of 10 PM newscasts last week, I can say that weather interests a lot of people.  For me, I used to care about nothing more than what it would be like the instant I stepped out, but there are people with serious interest in high pressure systems, isobars and dew points.  Or is it just civic pride we take in our awfulness.   Now, as a committed locavore, I take intense interest in the weather too.

Do we think about the same things when it snows in late March.  I’ll tell you what I think about.  Apples.  I always think about apples.   If we want a fresh local fruit from November until late May it pretty much has to be an apple.*  And to ensure that this happens, this Local Family purchased a boatload of apples in the fall.  We stored them with great success in our root cellar in the sky, our attic.  As long as it stays cool to cold outside, there’s more than an apple a day for the fruit ravenous kids and the rest of us.  Weather creeps into the 60′s and I think how can I get my wife to make membrillo.  Still, when it snows in late March, I think not of my apples now, I think of my apples to come.

Last week when I was learning all things cider in Wisconsin, I chatted with Peter Klein of Seedlings Farm.  He fretted about his trees a-bloomin’ with unseasonable warmth in Michigan.  Whatever happened, the apples could probably survive, but what about more sensitive fruits.  It’s only the Lake Michigan micro-climate that gains us local apricots in the first place, and then a bit of weather mish-mash, and the farmers wonder why they thought that in the first place.  Late season frost killed our local apricot crop two years ago.  It also played havoc on the local pear crop, event though pears are a bit more Northern-centric. 

It did not make her happy, but my wife allowed herself to be resigned to no pears in 07. She promised no dedication to the eat local cause if it happened again in 08.  She got her fill of pears and other local orchard fruit last summer.  How will this late season snow affect our happy marriage?

*Stored pears are around for a while and there’s the occasional indoor grown berry; so it’s not all apples, local.