But we have several well established plants growing along the barnyard fence and it seemed a shame to let such a prolific and loyal perennial go to waste, especially when it's packed with so much goodness including calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Author Catherine Newman (a self-professed rhubarb fan) even went so far as to describe it as, "celery dolled up in a rosy silk evening gown, all luster and shine."
Poetic praise, indeed. So this year, I decided to introduce some "puckery pleasure" (another Newman phrase) to my kitchen.
While rhubarb is traditionally paired with strawberries, I wanted to be a bit of an in-season purist and serve rhubarb on its own. We decided on a crumble as we're big on crumble here (and truth be told, I was out of pie crusts and unlike blogger Mama Pea who's a whiz bang at making homemade crust, I haven't mastered that skill yet.)
In keeping with the eat-local inspired dinner theme, we collected some eggs from the hens for omelettes and asparagus from the garden. Right now, we only have three very small patches of asparagus tucked into the perennial flower beds -- enough for only a few meals -- so I knew this harvest would be one to savour.
With every bite, my taste buds tingled with sheer delight. The kids declared dinner "awesome" -- even the asparagus, and I thought it would be a hard sell. But it was so sweet and flavourful, without a trace of woody texture or bitterness.
While we've been on the farm for almost two years, I still get a thrill out of this kind of true local eating. Collecting food from our own backyard and eating it still warm from the sun gives me such an intense feeling of pleasure and satisfaction.
Meals like this one, simple as it is, make all the hard work worthwhile. It makes me hungry to do more of this, to expand the garden, to preserve more food, to eat locally year-round.
It also made me hungry for some of this.
So for those of you who have long praised this humble vegetable and eagerly await its early appearance, I get it now.
And I'll be joining you next spring.