Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rhubarb Joins Spring's Produce

Even though the dark skies and cool temperatures haven't been Spring-like these days, the produce available in the Northern Rhine Valley seems to indicate the arrival of a new season. In the last weeks I've seen fava beans, white asparagus, ramps, and – yesterday's find – rhubarb.

I saw the rhubarb at a little vegetable stand near our house that (I'm ashamed to admit) I haven't checked out before. It's on a side road that we take driving back from the main thoroughfare between Bad Godesburg and Bonn, but it isn't on my usual walking or biking routes. Yesterday I set out on a special mission to see what they had to offer.

I was terrible excited by what I found – local rhubarb. Reputed to have been brought to Europe from China by Marco Polo,* rhubarb is a tart vegetable with poisonous leaves. It can grown indoors, producing the first harvest as early as January, but field-grown produce is only available in late March through early May.

Along with the rhubarb, the farm stand had tiny and sweet strawberries grown in nearby Holland. The combination left me no choice – a cobbler was in my future.

* Source: The Rhubarb Compendium

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