Snow melting and disappearing, daylight savings and longer days, warmer weather and clearer skies are a few signals that Spring is here. For foodies like myself, it’s when we first hear of the first harvests of Forced Rhubarb, spot the first Ramps, and encounter the first of the Morels.
It has been a rough year for a lot of, if not all of us. This pandemic has forced us to stay isolated and enclosed at the same time. Although the winter was not particularly harsh, the ripple effects of the lockdown situation made it feel like a very long and cold winter.
The spring air is welcoming and refreshing, bringing along some hope that better days are coming. So, I welcome these longer days where the afternoon light shines through my kitchen window, making baking bread and rhubarb pies and desserts all that more enjoyable.
Rhubarb & Forced Rhubarb: What’s the difference?
Rhubarb is one of the first Spring vegetables, however it comes a little later than Forced Rhubarb as it is actually grown outside and not inside like it’s cousin. Forced Rhubarb was actually very common in Ontario 40 years ago but due to changes in economic climate and population, a lot of the farmers in the industry suffered and its production diminished.
Now in Ontario, there are only two producers of Forced Rhubarb. One of the most known amongst chefs and bakers is Lennox Farm in Shelbourne Ontario.
You can actually get your hands on this vegetable from 100km Foods starting this week!
Forced Rhubarb is grown inside in a heated barn to fool the plants that it’s Spring time, making them shoot up and ready to harvest as early as February. Since these plants are grown without sunlight, they result in a tender and sweeter version than regular Rhubarb!
You’ll notice a lot of seasonal and local food restaurants and bakeries coming out with rhubarb desserts and pastries. So far I’ve spotted Blackbird Baking Co. with their seasonal rhubarb danishes. However, you will really start to see more of them come April as demand kicks up after Easter and when the weather gets warmer.