One of the most exciting aspects of shopping at a local farmer’s market is the anticipation seasonal produce. All year long we are able to celebrate the arrival of delicious and unique foods that are not available all the time the way they are in a typical grocery store. The freshness and quality of this produce is undeniable, and shoppers have the opportunity to ask questions to the very farmers who have planted, grown, and harvested it!
Speaking of seasons, spring is here and is one of my favorite times at the market. The air is getting warmer, everything is becoming greener, and we start seeing produce that is only available for a short period every year. Here is a list of some of the great, can’t-miss produce at the market during springtime.
Asparagus: Asparagus can be found at the market from mid March- April depending on weather. It’s one of the three common vegetables in North America that comes from a perennial plant, including rhubarb and artichokes. Amazingly, asparagus spears can grow up to 6 inches or more in one day. This spring favorite can be prepared many ways, but we recommend simply marinating the spears in olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper and grilling for about 5 minutes, making sure to turn the spears every minute or two!
Strawberries: Strawberries are heralded as the first fruit of spring, and are available at the market April- early June, depending on weather. Did you know what they are the only fruit that has its seeds on the outside? For this reason, botanists consider each strawberry seed be its own individual fruit. If you like to rinse strawberries, be sure to wait until right before you plan to eat them. They will keep much longer if they are stored this way. Also, if you know you will eat your strawberries in a day or two, they will be more flavorful left out on the counter than they are after they’ve been in the fridge!
Rhubarb: It is no coincidence that rhubarb is a popular addition to strawberry desserts because they have a very similar growing season and are available at the market at the same time of year. Field-grown rhubarb’s peak season is April and May, and again this always depends on what the weather is like. Be sure to remember that only the stalks of the rhubarb are edible, and the leaves are toxic to humans. Rhubarb stalks can be eaten raw, but also can be used nicely to enhance the flavor of other fruits. It is delicious in pies, cakes, sauces, jams, and more.
Other incredible spring produce available this time of year includes radishes, leeks, arugula, artichokes, snow peas and pea shoots, salad turnips, fennel, bok choy, and broccoli, to name a few!
With our full season hours in swing, you now have more flexibility to find this produce every week. Visit the market on Saturday mornings from 8:00 am-Noon, and on Wednesday afternoons from 3:00-6:00 pm. See you soon!