Juno, Linus, Marcus, Neptune, Pandora…. What now? We’re running out of names for snowstorms in New England.
Can you believe our good fortune?
I feel so much better now that my buddy, artist farmer Bob Zuck, introduced me to the nutritional benefits of snow. As it turns out, we are flush in nutrients falling from the sky.
Snow is more than moisture. It is also rich in nitrogen, a nutrient that makes up every living cell in plants and animals. Nitrogen is what makes protein unique. Nitrogen comprises 80% of the atmosphere, but it’s in a form that can’t be used. Snow grabs that nitrogen and deposits it into the soil where bacteria “fix” it for absorption into plants. We then eat the plants directly or we eat herbivorous animals. Nitrogen fixing plants include legumes (peas, beans, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts) and cover crops from the Fabaceae family (alfalfa, clover, and vetch).
Atmospheric nitrogen is exceptionally abundant a result of burning fossil fuels and manufacturing. To an industrial farmer, the nitrogen in snow can’t hold a candle to commercial fertilizer, but harsh chemical fertilizers damage the soil’s microbes and so they would need more.
New England, look on the bright side. Prepare to feast on sustainable local food this summer. California, eat my dust. Wait. Eat your own dust.
Your thoughts: Do you feel better about the snow?