Now that the weather is starting to warm up it’s safe to venture out of your house and grab some seasonal spring produce at your local farmers’ market. Your body is probably even craving some greens and the local market is the best place to get them.
Farmers’ markets provide seasonal and freshly grown produce typically between spring and fall. Some areas are lucky enough to have them year-round but where I live, they start to open around May and have some fantastic options.
Seasonal Spring Produce at the Farmer’s Market
Personally, I hate fresh artichokes and will only eat them from a can. I know, I know. Not really in the spirit of eating seasonal spring produce. But, I just can’t stand scraping my teeth against each and every leaf to get a tiny bit of food. Too much work for so little reward in my book. I feel the same way about pomegranates.
But, if you don’t mind doing the work or you’ve never eaten artichokes before, don’t let their appearance scare you. This vegetable is easy to cook (even if not easy to eat), delicious, and full of nutrients. Adding artichokes to your diet helps lower cholesterol and aids in digestion. Simply, snip off the tips of the leaves and place into a pot with water and lemon juice, about halfway. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the artichoke is tender. Then, you can either scrape the flesh off the leaves with your teeth or skip that part and just eat the hearts (my preference).
Asparagus is a superfood that is packed full of nutrients and is at its peak in April. This vegetable can be prepared raw, blanched, grilled, oven-roasted, boiled and fried. It’s an extremely versatile vegetable to add to any meal. Asparagus is high in Vitamin K which is important for blood clotting. It is also high in folate and vitamins A and C. Watch out, though. The high sulfur compounds cause some foul odors.
Mid to late spring is when cherries start to arrive at farmers markets, although I usually don’t see them until closer to July where I live. Cherries contain high amounts of antioxidants and help reduce inflammation and aid digestion. They are popularly made into pies and jams.
Possibly the Most Tedious Seasonal Spring Produce: Peas
I love to eat peas, but I dislike growing them and shelling them. You have to raise a ton of plants just to get one little bag of peas! I highly recommend buying them pre-shelled. These little guys pack a punch! They are high in vitamins A, K, C; and in Thiamine, Folate, and Manganese. What sets them apart from other vegetables is their high protein content. Like other legumes, they provide an alternative source of protein for vegetarians. And, because protein is more filling, can help with spring weight loss efforts.
Rhubarb, although classified as a fruit by the U.S.D.A., is botanically not a fruit, but a stalk (making it a vegetable). This sour vegetable contains significant amounts of vitamin K and antioxidants.Cook rhubarb with sugar to make pies and other desserts, sometimes combined with strawberries.
Spring greens are probably the most prominent foods to buy at the farmers’ market. Most farmers markets are filled with arugula, kale, bok choy, collard greens, dandelion greens, parsley, spinach, spring baby lettuce, Swiss chard and pea shoots this time of year. All of these leafy greens are high in vitamins and minerals. You can eat many of these delicious foods raw or cooked. Or, like kale, baked into chips, added to smoothies (try spinach), or dried and used as seasoning (parsley).
And My Favorite Seasonal Spring Produce: Strawberries
In some parts of the U.S., you can buy strawberries as early as April. Where I live, they are available in early June. These sweet berries are the most popular item to buy at farmers markets and typically run out fast. They are full of antioxidants that help regulate inflammation and protects the skin. Make sure you get to your farmer’s markets as early as possible before they run out.
As you can see, the farmers’ markets in
spring are abundant with great fruits and vegetables. They also make shopping
fun and more enjoyable. You get to meet the people who grow your foods and even
try something you’ve never heard of before.
All while supporting your local economy, environment and giving your
body the best nutrients possible.