Are you sick of winter? I know I am! As I look out my window, I see Mother Nature has different plans for my garden this spring, forcing me to get creative.

Maybe I am getting ahead of myself. Maybe I’m missing out on some really good stuff along the way. Usually as the snow melts, I’m reminded of how the past years of warm days mixed in with the cold nights were always frustrating.

However this year, I changed my thinking. It’s not perplexing at all – it’s magic! The spring season is a beautiful and tasty time of year. Yes, I did say “tasty.” Why? Maple season! It’s about the image of miles and miles of sap lines running through the woods. It’s about the smell of the wood fire, and the boiling sap that freezes at night and runs during the day.

Stephanie Schartner


Here in Vermont, we are avid snow machine riders. We love to slash through the trails with the sap lines and sugarhouses providing a beautiful backdrop. When I ride by the men and women collecting the sap to bring back to boil, I start to daydream of the fried donuts along with fresh blueberries and strawberries atop pancakes drizzled with maple syrup. And as our editor Michael Freeze realized (, one of the best treats is sugar on snow. Have you tried it? You should!

Be sure to share your maple/fresh fruit recipes on our Facebook page ( We have some great things lined up for Growing including many prizes for our valuable readers. For instance, I think a jug of fresh maple syrup would be well received to add to your fresh fruit pancakes! So, be sure to share your recipes!

Here in the Green Mountain state, we always say we have five seasons not four: spring, summer, fall, winter… then mud. But let’s concentrate on spring. The Growing team is working to help prepare you for spring preparation. Be on the lookout for the “Green Friday” e-blast featuring products and articles to help you in spring preparation. Sign up to receive The News Harvest E-newsletter and the Growing Magazine Digital Edition so you are sure to receive a special email message concerning Spring Preparation.

Schartner Farms

On another note, the staff of Growing sends thoughts and prayers to Schartner Farms of Exeter, Rhode Island. On March 5, I learned that the main building farm was up in flames and was a total loss. ( Due to the action of the first responders, the greenhouses were saved and the generators were up and running before the plants were affected. I’m glad to announce that the Schartner family is re-opening soon for the spring! They have been very grateful for the outpouring of support and memories shared.

Wishing Schartner Farms the best of luck this season!