The beginning of spring always brings a tear to our eyes, and it’s not just the seasonal allergies. It’s the beautiful bounty of fresh produce: The gorgeous greens! The ruby-red rhubarb! The sweetest peas and the mildest onions!
It’s time at last to head to the farmers market, spin around like Julie Andrews, and lose our minds over all the amazing options that spring has sprung for us. Just think of all the frittata possibilities!
Even if the weather hasn’t quite caught up with the calendar where you are, we swear a trip to the market will be worth your while. So grab your umbrella, maybe a winter coat, and your go-to antihistamine to brave the elements in the name of seasonal produce.
Here are just a few of the fantastically fresh spring goodies to reward you when you get there:
Artichokes: Fresh artichokes are not for the hurried. But once they’re cleaned, trimmed, and prepped to perfection, these edible thistles are an irresistible and versatile springtime treat. For a simple snack, try steaming a whole artichoke and dipping each petal into a fresh aioli. For a more ambitious kitchen adventure, try stuffing an artichoke or trimming a big batch down to their tender, tasty hearts.
Asparagus: Big bunches of vibrant asparagus are the surest sign that springtime has truly arrived. Their peak season is short, as is their lifespan in your fridge, so don’t let your asparagus get lost in the back of the produce drawer. Make the most of fresh spears shaved in a salad, lightly grilled with a spritz of lemon, or sautéed over pasta.
Beans: Green beans and broad beans (also known as fava beans) begin popping up at the farmers market in the springtime, and when you buy them young and freshly picked, they’re flavorful and tender enough to eat uncooked. These warm-weather vegetables are a tasty addition to salads, stews, and pestos.
Bring the bounty to your desk with EAT Club’s Seared Tuna Niçoise Salad
Peas: Spring peas are the sweetest when they’re young and freshly picked, which makes them even better from a farmers market than a traditional grocery store! Once you get them home, enjoy them raw or lightly cooked in salads and pasta dishes, and don’t let them sit in the fridge for too long — their natural sweetness will continue to decline the longer they’ve been off the vine. In early spring, you might even be able to find pea shoots, the sweet crunchy plant tendrils that show up before the peas do. They look a bit like microgreens and work as a slightly sweet, slightly crisp garnish for sandwiches, salads, and stir fries.
Bring the bounty to your desk with EAT Club’s Chilled Pea Soup & Vegan Salad
Radishes: Fresh red radishes from the early spring harvest are vibrant, peppery, and begging to be a part of your seasonal spread. Plump red radishes are most often enjoyed sliced or shredded atop a salad, but if you’re looking to tame that strong flavor, they’re also delicious roasted and pickled.
Rhubarb: If you see stalks of fresh rhubarb, snatch them up! Their peak season is short, from April to June, and they’re difficult to track down once the summer ends. Rhubarb is best known as an ingredient in sweet treats, but it’s also great in savory applications like salsa and boozy concoctions like gin cocktails. We usually love leaf-to-stem cooking with our farmers market finds, but here’s one to skip — rhubarb leaves are actually toxic to humans!
Salad greens: These utility staples are stocked in grocery stores all year, so we tend to forget their seasonality. But fresh greens like spinach, romaine, and spring mixes really do taste better this time of year. Once you grab your favorite greens, you’ll have no trouble deciding what to have for dinner — there’s just nothing better than a big spring salad brimming with your colorful farmers market haul.
Bring the bounty to your desk with EAT Club’s Herbed Chicken Cups
Spring onions: It’s easy to take onions for granted — they’re cheap, readily available year-round, and not the prettiest veggie on the produce aisle. But these workhorses provide a flavorful backbone for practically any dish you can imagine, and spring onions are an extra special touch. Onions harvested earlier in the season tend to have a sweeter, less pungent flavor than those harvested late in the winter. That makes them perfect for enjoying raw atop tacos, salads, hot dogs, and so much more. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some much-hyped ramps at your local market. These wild leeks with a super-short season are native to the eastern U.S. and Canada, where they sprout up at the very first sign of spring. They taste like a cross between an onion and garlic and have inspired something of a cult following among veggie enthusiasts.
Can’t make it to the market? Let EAT Club bring the seasonal goodness to you! Check out our latest crop of delicious dishes inspired by the spring harvest on our menu.