It’s fiddlehead season here in Maine again! This is usually the first foraging outing of the spring for us, and it’s always exciting when the time grows near. Along with the opening of tiny, tender new buds on trees, and the subtle shift to the mild, damp, earthy smell and feel of early spring air, the arrival of fiddlehead season always remind us that warmth and sun really are right around the corner. Around here, fiddleheads usually show up somewhere between the later part of April and early May, depending on the weather, and the season usually lasts a couple of weeks. We never quite know if they are up in our area or not until we actually look, so Ben and I and the boys headed out this past weekend to check out some of our favorite fiddleheading spots. We’ve noticed over the past several years that not of all of these places are on exactly the same seasonal time-table, even though they’re all right around the Portland area. I suppose they each have their own micro-climates that are just different enough from each other that seasonal growth varies by a few days or a week from one spot to the next. And indeed, we found that the same was true this year. Thinking that some of the earlier-growing spots might be picked out already, we hiked in to one of our favorite picking spots near my brother John and sister-in-law Lisa’s house that tends to be ready on the later side. Unfortunately, most of the fiddleheads were not even poking their heads up yet–though it was clear that they were just a few days away. Perhaps the season is a little further behind than we’d thought! And perhaps the other spot that we thought would be picked out by now–along the banks of one of the large rivers in Portland—might actually be just about perfect. So, we went to check. We parked and hiked in through the woods, and when we hit the river, we knew we were in luck. While there had been people picking in the area already, there were plenty of fiddleheads left, and clearly there were more on the way. Since the season is short, you have to pick when the picking is good, regardless of the weather, so many years–like last year–we’ve found ourselves in full rain gear, picking in the rain. But this past weekend, not only were there fiddleheads to be found, but we had beautiful, sunny weather–what a treat!