The weather has improved over the last while. The lawn has been cut. Daisies have appeared. There are tulips  in the flower bed.  Primroses that appeared way too early in December still remain. How the winter season lingered this time around! Dreams today have strayed to new potatoes. First spuds of the season mean something special to most. They mark the start of the summer, the end of the Hunger Gap.  This was traditionally a time stretching after Christmas, when fresh vegetables are in short supply and choice is limited, through  early summer when new crops begin to appear. We have it on good authority that Patrick’s Day is the day always set aside for planting new potatoes. This year’s cold spell during March delayed things by a few weeks. Ground temperature was too cold for sowing to be successful. A hard frost could still strike. Smallholders are anxiously waiting. Salads and other leafy greens grown in tunnels are doing well. But the spuds are king, even when they’re Queens !! How we crave those little gems harvested freshly from the earth. Papery skinned and pearly. Like digging up treasure. A rinse and a steam. Waxy firmness or floury gorgeousness, depending on variety. Queens and Homeguards will soon stand to attention in farmer’s markets and farm shops. There’ll also be organic and chemical free varieties with names we don’t quite remember. It’s hard to remember the flavours  without having the object at hand to taste. New Irish potatoes signify the end of the hard times. (FYI. China is the world’s largest producer of potatoes.)  Soon after spuds, there’ll be beans and peas and other goodies. The anticipation. The anticipation. Keep an eye out in GFI farmshops, Cafes and Restaraunts. New spuds equal summer. It’ll be landing again soon.