A new year is a new beginning. The stuff of last year gets turned into the ground to become fodder for this year’s pursuits, to become the nutriment for new ideas and dreams to take seed and fruit. I’ve recently come “ashore” here on Little St. Simons Island to tend the gardens. I bring with me the experience of growing food in a community more inland in Jesup, Georgia. I also carry the knowledge of my teachers who have guided my hands in their gardens and farmsteads, and in my own soil by their spoken wisdom. However, nature is the greatest teacher when you’re working with the land, and that knowledge is so particular to place. I’ve much to learn from this island as I work with it to create nourishment for you all when you come to visit.
My! Has the year gotten off to a chilly start. The sun is returning, providing much appreciated light to the new greens in the ground, but winter is truly upon us. The island was no refuge from the Polar Vortex that swept in bringing frigid temperatures that dipped to 27! We had to tuck in our lettuce beds and harvest the remaining citrus fruit. The blustery winds blew the covers off of the trees, but luckily the most vulnerable among them was insulated at the trunk. The freeze zapped the pomegranate leaves to brown and shriveled, but new green growth emerged from the branches just a week later when temps rose into the 70’s again.
So it goes with maritime winters; the temperatures flail wildly. But as the sun continues to fill the day-sky, the land will warm again and we’ll be planting for Spring. Look for an array of salad and cooked greens to accompany our new menu selections. We’ll be growing plenty of fresh herbs for Chef Charles to simmer into delectable sauces— beurre-blanc with a spurt of lemons from our recent harvest for his infamous crab cakes and a delicious mint sauce on seasoned rack of lamb. That’s a just a little taste to stir your senses for what’s to come.
Here’s to a good year and a bountiful harvest,