well, i suppose it’s official, spring is here. time to get out and start digging and seeing how many worms are making their way through the soil. i was pleasantly surprised with my worm count this year, i don’t know about you? i asked zach with Tree & Leaf if he could hook me up with some of his killer soil and he gave me two 5lb tubs of the good shit. i have never seen anything like in my life, black, green, brown, full of magnesium, worm casting, phosphorus and the like. if you ever feel like gettin’ geeky about dirt, zach is your man, your mad man. i have learned quite a bit from him. he goes hardcore on everything he does, green houses, composting, heirloom varieties and just about everything we’ve ever eaten from him & georgia have blown us away. this year, he will be providing us with all of our opal basil, genovese basil, peppermint, ginger, butternut squash and crookneck pumpkins. last year we scooped and dried all the seeds from the crooknecks, so we could give the seed back to zach, so, it’s a nice feeling, knowing we have something to do with this years crop. i guess there is a good feeling about getting involved in whatever you do, couldn’t see doing it any other way, kinda like, if you’re going to do it, do it, sorta thing. so, with all this spring fling in the air, for us it means the building anxieties until the strawberries start showing up. i called Westmoreland Berry Farm last week and they are saying after Mother’s Day we should be able to get a hold of some strawberries. i know they are already available in small quantities because i have seen them on menus around the city, but when i say strawberries, we are talking 15 – 20 cases per week. it’s crazy just writing that out, to think that we will eat, admire, rave about and create some pretty amazing gelato with over 120 cases of strawberries this year. we always start the season in the south, Oak Grove, VA to be exact, with strawberries from Westmoreland. This usually goes on for about 4 weeks and then we finish the season with strawberries from Toigo Orchards, out of Shippensburg, PA, which go for about another 2 – 3 weeks, weather depending. We will be doing all kinds of creations this year, like combining them with tarragon, lime, lemon, Pernod, tequila, cream, cooking down a sauce and folding it into our dulce de leche gelato and whatever else our fancy muses. this year our strawberry slingin’ season is dedicated to a dear lady who went away, don’t really know where, but she aint here no more, Martha from Westmoreland Berry Farm. she has been the kind and competent voice on the phone every week for last 5 years, during berry season. we will miss her dearly and i know they will to. it’s such a damn shame we all have to go away some day, a part of me would change it if i could, but then i know that life and living would be much less sweet, so i would just fuck it up. one of those bittersweet lessons of life & death, i guess, THE bittersweet lesson of life & death. so, Martha, i hope we do this year justice with them strawberries, every batch and order will done thinking about you.