The Star-Herald

Let’s rock this thing

“Somebody” finally knocked this season into gear and leaned on the throttle.  Like the Millennium Falcon launching into hyperspace, transforming distance stars to streaks of light and nearby asteroids into potential improvised explosive devices, the arrival of the season launches us into a blurred frenzy of activity.  

Along the rivers’ edges, skunk cabbage emerge like missiles from hidden silos and the hummocks of ferns appear overnight.  Foragers of free food available for the picking pull on knee boots and old clothes, assemble 5-gallon pails, tote sacks or Tupperware tubs, then find their way to their favorite fiddlehead patches.  When anatomy resists their prerequisite stoop, the pickers stand, stretch backward, and turn their faces to the welcome dappling of sunlight overhead.  Hurry while they are still curled because it won’t be long before the ferns are just that.

Every third pickup on the road seems to be sprouting the handle of a lawn mower from its bed.  Presumably the machines are reluctant to emerge from hibernation; either the pull cord wouldn’t or the electric start didn’t, even with a generous application of “farming language.”  The machines are on their way to someone who has the communication skills to clearly explain to them the error of their ways.  Meanwhile, the lawns have already gotten the memo, growth surges, and the most lawn-proud are seen dodging mud puddles to beat back a sea of grass and islands of emerging dandelions.

Dirt junkies fairly twitch with delirium, desperate for a fix of mud under their fingernails after the long ’tween season.  They grub about in their gardens despite the showers and welcome the appearance of tiny ruffles of green.  Bravely appearing at the edges of receding glaciers, hyacinth, snow drops, crocus and other hyper-adventurous florals now make way for daffodils, narcissus, and incipient tulips.  Gardeners map out plots and arrange sidewalls on raised beds and stepping stones to avoid sudden increases in the force of gravity when they reach for a distant weed.  Even the “glass-half-empty” among us find it reasonable to at least contemplate scratching out a row or two of spinach, chard, or peas despite still cool nights.

In the parking lot at the Aroostook Centre Mall on Saturday mornings, venders of the Presque Isle Farmers Market form a fairy ring of cars, trucks and wagons, hang our signs and banners, and lay out our wares.  Between 8:30 am and 1:00 pm, we eagerly greet our loyal customers.  They wander from table to table, filling their reusable shopping bags with greens, preserves, grass-fed meat, and other delights.  The contagion of the season affects appetites and smiles alike.  We all feel the surge of the season that is finally upon us.  Let’s rock this thing.

The Presque Isle Farmer’s market’s president is Kevin Ehst of Hidden Meadow Farm in Bridgewater. For information about participating or visiting the market, contact him at 425-4050 or via email at kevins@ehst.com.

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