Spring Produce Superstars!

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Spring is a great season for produce! Josh Alsberg stopped by to show us what to look for in markets right now! For more produce inspiration from Josh, follow him on Instagram

Welcome to the best time of the year...the height of spring! It’s that perfect time where vegetables are in peak season: crisp snap peas, adorable little lettuces, brightly colored radishes; the fresh garden herbs are abundant and now the local fruit is starting to get ripe too.

Here in the Northwest, the real star of spring is STRAWBERRIES! The local spring strawberry season only lasts about a month - a few varieties will come back in late summer - so take advantage of it. Eat them all! And when you've eaten as many as you can straight from the pint, cook with them, too:

  • Strawberries and rhubarb is a classic combination, and it doesn't have to be complicated. Just cook with sugar to taste for 5 or ten minutes in a saucepan and pour your strawberry-rhubarb compote over pancakes, or cool and spread on toast!
  • Strawberries and mint make a great topping for a simple cake, but they make a great daiquiri too!
  • Try strawberries in a salad, with little gem lettuces and snap peas!

Spring herbs all going gangbusters in our garden...and at the farmer's market, too! Choose oregano, dill, chives and marjoram are ideal for savory dishes while basil, mint, and tarragon can be used for both savory and sweet! Roughly chopped two or three together, they are a great addition to any vegetable dish or salad.

  • In Greece, they love to combine fresh oregano, dill and parsley with crumbled feta for an all-around salad topping.
  • We love to blend mint, marjoram and chives into a creamy salad dressing with anchovies.
  • Look for flowers! At this time of year you can find flowering chives and thyme for making any dish more beautiful.

Asparagus is the king of spring, but don’t overlook plenty of other great spring veggies like radishes, lettuces and spring peas. Look for firm but tender vegetables that have a nice bright color and then get cooking - these spring superstars can be combined and recombined in a million ways:

  • Blanche snap peas for just a minute in boiling water and serve with roughly chopped oregano, mint and chives and a healthy sprinkling of goat cheese for a great side dish or potluck ready salad.
  • For an easy snack, slice beautiful, crisp French Breakfast Radishes and place on buttered baguette!
  • Make a creamy dressing with garlic, lemon and loads of fresh herbs and use it to dress crisp little gem lettuces. Little gems have a crispness that will stand up to substance, but a delicate flavor that will let herbs shine.
  • Grill baby zucchinis that you have halved, lengthwise and rubbed with crushed garlic, oil, salt and pepper. When blistered and hot, toss with soft spring herbs like marjoram and mint.

Another spring superstar that folks are becoming aware of are garlic scapes. Sometimes called garlic "whistles," these are the immature flower tops of the garlic plant. They have a delicate garlic flavor and are tender and fantastic grilled whole with just a little olive oil and salt, and maybe some oregano or marjoram.

Make a simple garlic scape salsa verde. Blend together a bunch of scapes, 2 large handfuls mixed herbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, zest and juice of 1 lemon. Turn on your food processor and slowly add enough olive oil to make it all come together usually between 1/2 and 3/4 cup.

This is the time of year with almost too many delicious things to eat - but it doesn't last long. Get to the market soon to get your spring superstars!