Begin Again

At City Fresh, our winters are pretty slow. Our staff’s activity naturally follows the growing season, with overfull to-do lists and calendars ramping up in spring as the intensity of our planning steadily increases. June and July, and practically through August, we run full steam, hardly pausing to breathe. By the time schools reopen for fall, we’ve finally established a rhythm that feels sustainable. There follows the end-of-year catch up and tidying before we lay our heads down for a winter’s rest. The nice thing about this schedule is that we follow the sunshine, so our fullest days are also the longest. The light helps keep us motivated, awake.

So here we are with another season upon us. We’ve weathered the slower period successfully and are all aflutter and planningful, getting ready to fill your tote bags with all the freshest local vegetables come June. In my yard, the strawberry plants are blooming, and my four tiny spears of asparagus are up. We planted asparagus last spring as it is my favorite seasonal delicacy and one that requires a quantity of time unmatched in the veggie world. Asparagus is only rightly in season about two weeks of the year and requires three years of growth before it can be harvested. Early harvesting or overharvesting can decimate the shoots. The plants need to turn to seed regularly thereafter to fully photosynthesize so that they might store enough starch to last the winter underground.

These signs of life are a comfort and a warning: warmer days are ahead, but also a frenetic pace and a shared delusion of well-maintained chaos. Every year I wonder how we’ll do it again and every year we just do. This team of bright, dedicated folk – staff, board members, farmers, and our many dozens of volunteers and community partners – are amazing, truly. Their commitment to our values, intense competence, and downright cheerful attitude makes working at City Fresh a joy. We’re looking forward to having you join us this season. Chat us up about veggie facts and recipe ideas or tell us how you made it through the darker months without so much as a bunch of local kale! All are welcome.

Sometimes I feel guilty for how little I seem to accomplish during the winter, but then I remember that nothing in nature blooms year-round. We must have time to store starch. Having done so for another year, we are ready and waiting for you to help us realize our vision of a more just and sustainable local foods system.

Anna Kiss Mauser-Martinez
Executive Director