March 20th is the first day of spring. With dreams of our summer gardens sustaining us through the last of the winter, it is time to start planning! Last year’s seed packets need to be assessed to determine if they are too old to be viable and if more need to be purchased. Now is also a good time to decide if some of last year’s varieties performed well in your garden environment. When you are ready to purchase new seeds, there are a number of sources to choose from that offer organic and heirloom varieties. Choosing organic and/or heirloom seeds helps to preserve diversity in food crops, support seed saving efforts, and keeps potential GMO and chemical hazards out of our gardens. Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah is a local source offering organic and heirloom seeds. They also sell seedlings for those who prefer to start their garden with young plants. Seeds of Change is another company that offers organic and heirloom varieties. Both companies focus on sustainability and the preservation of seed diversity.
Simple Irish Soda Bread
With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, thoughts turn to the food and drink originating from the island in the North Atlantic. Among favorites here in the states is Irish soda bread, which is more commonly known in Ireland as “cake” or “cake-bread.” Found in many forms, soda bread at its most basic consists of four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, an alternative to yeast, is what gives the bread its rise. If you’re new to bread making, Irish soda bread is a great place to start.
Several local businesses have partnered with the Cedar Falls Food Co-op during the month of March to add value to our blossoming community-owned food co-op!! Sidecar Coffee, Sidecar Coffee Roasters, Oster Regent Theater & Singlespeed Brewing are offering some fun & exciting benefits for new & existing founding member-owners.
What Does it Mean to Become a Founding Member?
The Cedar Falls Food Co-op is a member owned, member controlled business that operates for the mutual benefit of all its members according to a set of established principles. It’s a unique business model — not a typical for-profit business, nor a nonprofit, but a collective of member-owners who have a say in how the business is run.
Even with snow still on the ground, it’s not too early to start thinking about getting our gardens ready for spring.
As February slowly fades to March, home gardeners start eyeing seed catalogues and dreaming about spending hours tending to their plots. While we still may not be able to dig in, it’s not too early to start planning and prepping for a successful growing season. If you are planning a garden for the first time, there are some simple steps to get you started.