Happy May Day! My middle sister spent her college years at a small Seven Sisters school known for both its academic rigor and its fondness for Anglophile-ish, slightly archaic traditions (lots of teas there). On May 1st, the president of the college would ride into campus on a white horse, and students wore flower crowns and white dresses and sang hymns to the May before having strawberries and cream for breakfast.
White horses, sadly, do not have full representation in my part of Temescal. But the strawberries from just south of here are finally starting to get sweet (all that rain delayed the season somewhat). If you look, you can probably find some rhubarb, too. Any new kind of fruit is very welcome right now, during this season when the weather feels like spring but winter's kales and citrus are still hanging on.
Remember that rainy scene in the beginning of Animal Vegetable Miracle, when author Barbara Kingsolver, in the first week of her locavore experiment, is despondent at the thought of returning home to her banana-less household with no fruit? Drenched by a spring downpour, she splashes through the farmers' market and is rewarded at last with a beautiful bundle of red-stemmed rhubarb.
Unless you're a gardener and an old-fashioned pie-lover, you've probably never seen rhubarb growing, and you might not recognize it even if you did. A perennial plant, it forms a low, leafy mound, with wide spinachy leaves the size of a hat. Look under the leaves and you'll see long, reddish stalks coming up from the ground. Grip one firmly and pull it out. Trim off the mildly toxic leaf, and there you have it, a sour, sour stalk of what used to be called pieplant.