Here in the Northeast, spring is fighting it's way back into our lives bit by bit. One nice day, then two not-so-nice-days then another nice day and so forth. As far as seasons go, spring is just so darn optimistic. Everyone starts to come outside again (instead of running from from door to car and back again), things are growing and the days are longer. How can you not be just a tiny bit more positive about life?
Another thing to love: farmers' markets start to open and fresh, local spring vegetables, meat and fish become more readily available. There are a lot of reasons to eat local and in season: it's better for the environment, (local foods don't travel far), you are supporting your local economy, but In the end, none are more motivating than how tasty and fresh local tastes.
A few things you'll find at the Farmers' Market right now:
Pretty much the ambassador of spring vegetables. Buy locally starting in April. Blanch, steam, roast or grill (my favorite), season (salt, pepper, evoo and lemon work for me).
Try Something New: Burdock
Ok, so I've never tried burdock before but I am a fan of most root vegetables, so why not? Known as Gobo in Japan, this veggie is a legendary health food powerhouse. It's rich in minerals and known for its detoxifying effects. Fans of this root laud its earthy yet sweet flavor. The most popular preparation is a simple Japanese dish called Kinpira.
Cheese, Glorious Cheese!
The end of kidding and lambing season usher in local Goat's-Milk and Sheep's-Milk Ricotta at Farmer's Markets and cheese shops. Eat it plain. Goats-Milk grilled cheese. On toasted crostini's drizzled with honey or topped with a fig jam. Cheese is idiot proof.
Soft Shell Crabs:
Soft Shell Crabs are regular blue crabs that, come April (give or take) temporarily shed their hard exoskeleton, exposing their tasty meat. Within 24 hours, blue crabs grow another shell making them, well, not soft shell crabs anymore. Get them from a fish monger who will take care of the only hard part: cleaning. The unique soft/crunchy texture of the SSC makes it a delicious sandwich.
Strawberries, scallions, garlic, ramps and mangos are also in season. Put away the parka and find a farmers market.
Find a Farmers Market Near You:
Local Harvest is the place to go for all things regarding local food.