The December Atmosphere
This week as we enter December, the weather folks are predicting very chilly temperatures for our winter warrior vegetables. The highs are expected to be mid 40’s (not so bad), but the night time is forecasted to hover in the 20’s. One might say well, of course, it’s December! This is true and across the country, average temps in many northern regions are only seeing highs in the day of 26 degrees F, but for Pacific Northwest residents, the first hard frost is always a bit of a shocker.
We are plenty used to rain and flooding in the Snoqualmie Valley, but when winter frost lies down, we are racing to get every viable veggie out of the fields. In our case, that is cabbage, carrots, purple-top turnips and leeks. As we lead up to winter solstice and the daylight is quite short, we are working full weeks as we can feel the pressure, maybe similar to Santa Claus. One minute the skies are winter grey with sideways rain almost hail, and the next, there is sun so warm and rainbows sparkling in full array.
Often our mornings in December are too frosty to harvest vegetables, so it lends us a few extra hours to catch up on rest and healing. It is a wonderful time for being outside even if you are just out for a brisk walk and then hurry back inside to decorate trees and enjoy delicious, home-cooked meals. We delight in winter soups and hearty vegetables that grace our palates and hope you have a chance to try new vegetables or forgotten ones. Every year, I always forget about purple-top turnips, and every December, they never fail to amaze me in flavor color, exuberance and often sheer density. My boys call them purple baseballs and while they look like them, their earthy, sweet flavor braises so well with carrots and their ancient history makes us feel like kings and queens.
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