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Hello, March!

March is named for the Roman Gold of War, Mars. Winter is on its way out, and Spring is upon us! The first day of Spring is Tuesday, March 19, which means snow is melting and flowers will start blooming. People are getting outside more to enjoy the weather with sports, family, and outdoor gatherings, the perfect time for the new season of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour on Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 a.m., which means you will lose an hour of sleep. Don’t forget to change your clocks before you go to bed!

Purim
The Jewish holiday of Purim begins March 23, 2024 at sundown and ends on March 24 at sundown. Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.

There are many traditions on this Jewish holiday; it is customary to give food as a gift to our friends. Men give to men and women give to women… by way of a third party, usually a child. It is also customary to give to the needy; at least two needy recipients, including money, clothes or food.

Also, drinking wine and alcohol is encouraged on this holiday. This is the holiday to “let loose!”. When greeting another on this holiday, one would say “Happy Purim” or in Hebrew you would say “chag Purim sameach” (pronounced KHAG poo-REEM sah-MAY-akh).

Purim is celebrated nationwide with traditional food, costumes and parades. A popular cookie made for Purim is called a “hamantaschen.” This triangle-shaped cookie is filled with a wonderful fruit filling and can be made with any filling you like. Traditional fillings include berries and nuts. Try this delicious Hamentaschen recipe from our website.

St. Patrick’s Day
The most popular holiday in March is St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day, which is always March 17th, is an Irish holiday honoring Saint Patrick, the missionary credited with converting the Irish to Christianity (in the A.D. 400s). Historical sources report that Patrick was born around 373 A.D. in either Scotland (near the town of Dumbarton) or in Roman Britain (the Romans left Britain in 410 A.D.). His real name is believed to be Maewyn Succat (he took on Patrick, or Patricus, after he became a priest). The story says, at the age of 16, he was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. During his 6-year captivity working as a shepherd, he began to have religious visions, and found strength in his faith. He finally escaped and went to France, where he became a priest (and later a bishop).

When Saint Patrick was about 60 years old, he traveled to Ireland to spread the Christian word. It is said that Saint Patrick had an unusually winning personality, which helped him win converts. He used the shamrock, which resembles a three-leafed clover, as a metaphor to explain the concept of the Trinity (father, son, Holy Spirit). Saint Patrick was also known to have driven all the snakes out of Ireland, which is why Ireland has no snakes. Different tales tell of Saint Patrick standing on a hill, using a wooden staff to drive the serpents into the sea, banishing them forever from the shores of Ireland.

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in the United States with food, fun and wearing green.
Image of Potato, Turnip and Kale Sprouts Au Gratin
The first American celebration of Saint Patrick's Day was in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. Americans celebrated with festivities and feasts. Today, we celebrate with foods like cabbage, our famous DYPs® (Dutch Yellow® Potatoes), corned beef and green foods of any kind.

Green is associated with Saint Patrick's Day because it is the color of Spring, Ireland, and the shamrock. Leprechauns are also associated with this holiday.
Image of Kale Sprouts
Melissa’s has some great food ideas for this green holiday. Green cabbage or salad savoy (flowering kale) are popular to enjoy. Boil them until tender and serve with your favorite meat (corned beef is traditional) and you’re off to a great start. Kale has become very popular for juicing because it is nutrient dense. Other greens like romaine and spinach are popular for salads or sides and our steamed artichokes make a great dip with spinach, too!

These superstitions are considered good luck on Saint Patrick’s Day:
Finding a four-leaf clover
  • Wearing green
  • Following a rainbow
  • Kissing the Blarney Stone
  • Seeing a falling star in the sky…

Easter
This year Easter is Sunday, March 31st and Good Friday is March 29, 2024. Many people attend church on Good Friday in preparation for Easter Sunday. A typical Easter Sunday may consist of going to Church, spending time with family and enjoying food. Easter egg hunts are popular for the younger kids. In preparation for the big day, kids’ dye (hard-boiled) eggs to make them colorful and unique. Parents hide the eggs along with plastic eggs filled with treats. Try our new Clean Snax® for filling plastic eggs for a healthier treat that everyone will love.

Plan your Easter menu around your favorite entrée like ham or lamb; potatoes, fresh peas, fresh herbs, spices and beautiful citrus for garnishes. Colorful salads using Melissa’s Steamed Baby Beets, and Steamed Artichokes are popular sides. Fresh fruit for dessert with homemade whipped cream is always popular. Prepare as much as possible in advance so you can enjoy the day.

Some fun trivia on Easter: Did you know the name "Easter" originated with the name of an ancient Goddess? Easter was named after Eostre. She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people of Northern Europe. Her name derives from the ancient word for spring, "eastre." The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a festival commemorating her. Easter was originally a pagan festival. The second-century Christian missionaries came across these pagans and decided to convert them to Christianity. They did it slowly, allowing them to continue celebrating their way, then slowly changing the holiday to a C

First day of Spring
The first day of Spring is Tuesday, March 19, 2024. The climates worldwide are changing so check your local nurseries for varieties to plant in your area. Flowers are the most popular to plant—whimsical and blooming with love in the air!

Spring is welcomed nationwide, bringing some delicious fresh fruits and vegetable from artichokes to fiddleheads; Spring is the best time for fresh.

Melissa’s brings Spring to your doorstep through your local retailer or via mail-order. Since the pandemic, many of us are spoiled and have things delivered to our doorstep, making mail order very popular! If you are looking for something specific and cannot find it at your local market, chances are good that we will have it! Just give us a call at 800.588.0151.
Image of Harry's Berries Strawberries
California Strawberry Day
Did you know strawberries have a special day in California? In 1983, the California Strawberry Commission proposed this special day to signify the “official” start of Spring.

Juicy, versatile and perfect for desserts and snacking, strawberries have come a long way. Some of our favorites are Harry’s Berries, which taste like none other, and our latest Japanese Jewelbox™ strawberries in white, pink, and red that will be a show-stopper in any dish.

And, did you know strawberries are the only fruit that bares their seeds on the OUTSIDE? Yep, those little specs are seeds. Happy Spring!
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