It is a brisk and sunny Sunday afternoon in Orlando. I am sitting on my patio dressed in a sweater. These are the days I savor. I must say that January, February and March are my favorite months of the year here in Florida. Those living in the North right now would beg to differ with me, but geographically, these months come bearing a plethora of lovely gifts from Mother Nature. It’s not too hot. It’s not too cold. Spring is tangible. I can envision my lawn coming back to life. I look forward to planting new pots of herbs with my husband, Wayne, to replace what the harsh cold has taken.
So why do I love January? Because January here is Summer up North with it’s horn of plenty of locally grown fruits and vegetables. I visited my favorite produce stand, Clemons, last week and was greeted by more than 20 varieties of locally grown produce and fruit. Of course, citrus is plentiful right now. But rarely, does one think of Florida as a “garden state”. The Florida connotation is usually beaches, palm trees, and Disney World. Surprisingly, however we grow a lot of wonderful produce in the winter months. I bought fresh Romaine, cucumbers, and beefsteak tomatoes all grown just an hour or two from my door. Clemons is one of the only places I know that brings the produce from farmer to your door without the middle man.
The salad pictured here is one I made for Wayne and I for lunch yesterday. It is Florida fresh. It tasted fresh and perhaps, it is my imagination, but it looks a lot fresher as well. It thrills me to know that I am eating something that did not travel very far to reach my plate. And the lemon pictured here is from our lemon tree in the back of our house.
The breeze just kicked up as I sit on the patio on this wondrous January afternoon. I love the combination of the warmth of the sun on my skin and the cool breeze on my face. I suppose, in many ways, I share the same sentiments as my optimistic Northern friends who peer out the window at the snow piled high and hold onto their dreams of the first harbingers of Spring. January arrives with its counterpart of a new year and a unique joy from thoughts of rebirth and renewal and fresh starts. January fills our hearts with new perspectives and new attitudes. January is one of those months that grabs your attention in the moment, but at the same time, taps you on the shoulder to remind you of all the things your heart will be rejoicing about…..very, very soon.