Spring has always held a special place in the hearts of the people of Snow Country. After a long winter spent mainly indoors, with the fields buried under snow, the spring melt brings a kind of excitement to the spirit. The deep snow means access to fresh vegetables over the winter months was not possible so the people in these regions have become adept at preserving and pickling foods.
Spring brings the return of greenery to the landscape, and as the snow melts back to water and soaks back into the earth, new shoots appear. Traditionally these were the first fresh food available to Snow Country residents and were highly prized. Even to this day they are the first taste of spring, and seeing people on the slopes picking them, and finding them for sale in the shops and restaurants is a sure sign that spring is really here.
We saw butterbur sprouts in the local road station recently. Many more varieties of shoots and spouts will soon appear too, and if you get the chance, try the mountain vegetable tempura as an accompaniment to some locally made soba.