The Taste of Earth 4


My mother once passed around a photo of a toddler in a muddy springtime garden, mouth full of dirt, fingers gingerly lifting an earthworm to taste.   For years my brothers taunted me – Wanda the Worm Eater.

early spring in the vineyard

surprises in the vineyard

Decades on I’m still caught by the spell of thawing earth, and the hidden, mysterious workings down below.

wild spring onion between the vines

wild spring onion between the vines

It’s March.  The allées in the vineyard are suddenly bursting with clover and wildflowers, a godsend for the first pollinators.  But the real showstopper: entire parcels of spring onions.  I asked the farmer who planted them.  No one, they grow wild.  When he was a child they dug them up to sell for pocket money.

digging up a bunch for lunch

digging up a bunch for lunch

surprise spring harvest

spring onions waiting for us

ingredients for birthday omelet

I’m trying to reach back to cellular memory, that collective place where we all have a hankering for spring earth, minerals, and an intriguing earthworm.

another bulb, invisible until spring

another bulb at vineyard’s edge

But the guy in my kitchen has drawn a culinary line.  Earth flavors, yes.  On condition they’re alchemized through a birthday omelet with eggs from a neighbor, spring onions from the vineyard, magic lettuce from the lawn.


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4 thoughts on “The Taste of Earth

  • Helen Garrett

    With you in spirit! For the past two weeks (when I don’t feel like working my desk job in the dining room) I’ve been raking and clearing our little plot of land in Brooklyn. No yummy wild spring onions here, but little crocuses suddenly appeared, and I see the beginning of daffodils, tulips and other surprises. Our first spring here. Lots of fun. Very soul satisfying after 30 years living in an apartment in Manhattan.

  • Sally Pearson

    We have our first daffodils too, such a wonderful time of year, but I remember the old Scottish adage “Ne’er cast a clout before May is out”, so we may not be out of the winter woods just yet. Hope the omelette was good, it sounded scrummy.

  • Pam Pawley

    Hope you had a lovely birthday Mary! Here’s to another year of celebrating YOU!!! Wishing you many, many more years of gracing us with your presence!