Hello spring! This marks the beginning of peak fruit season (which runs spring through summer) here in Central California. Leafy green vegetables make an appearance, as well as my personal favorite — the almighty artichoke. Check out this quick guide to spring produce, complete with recipes to get you started.
HOW TO EAT SEASONALLY
While most produce is available at grocery stores year-round, that doesn’t mean it’s best to buy it at any time. Produce that’s in season will be more flavorful (think sweeter fruits, more vibrant lettuce) AND you can source it locally. Most produce in major grocery stores is imported from other countries. That means, typically, the produce is picked before peak ripeness and sprayed with chemicals to mechanically ripen it before it lands on grocery shelves.
For the best produce, look locally. This Eat Seasonally guide is specific to the West Coast of the United States, focusing on produce that is in season in California. What’s locally available may be different in your area depending your local climate.
The easiest way to shop seasonally is to visit your local farmers markets, or farm stands. This ensures the produce is locally sourced, and is most likely picked at peak ripeness. Ideally, there will also be a variety of organic options available.
Spring season runs from Saturday, March 20 to Sunday, June 20.
SEASONAL PRODUCE GUIDES
Here are some online resources to see the full list of seasonal spring produce.
Have a Plant – Full list of spring produce, not broken down by region. Read more here.
Southland Farmers Market Association – Specific to the Southern California region. View the list here.
Pick Your Own – Features a full harvest calendar for all of California. View here.
May to August
Mid-May through June
June to October
May to October
Late spring through early fall
May through September
March through July
December to April
April to July
May 15 to June 30
May 20 – September 15
May 20 – September 5
March through May
March to April
September through May
March to June
May to August
March to May
April to early September
April through July
Spring to Early Summer
7 SPRING PRODUCE RECIPES
Artichokes are hearty, succulent, and bursting with richness. Look for bigger artichokes, with more green leaves than purple. This will ensure they are mature enough to be tender and will yield a big heart (the best part!).
Serve artichokes as a side dish, or as the main event. Pair with a sundried tomato orzo and Mediterranean chickpea salad for a fresh summery plant-based dinner!
2. Roasted Fennel with Garlic and Herbs – Recipe by Every Last Bite
Fennel, a perennial bulb of the carrot family, has a light, sweet taste with a hint of licorice. Enjoy thinly sliced in a spring salad with spinach, toasted pine nuts, and an orange vinaigrette. Roasted with savory garlic and fresh herbs, it transforms into a delicious side dish.
This recipe caramelizes the fennel, bringing out its natural sweetness to offset the sharpness of the garlic and earthiness of the herbs. Omit the parmesan to keep it dairy-free & vegan!
3. Mustard Greens Salad – Recipe by Farm Fresh to You
If you like spicy and aren’t afraid of a bitter green, this fresh Mustard Green salad is for you. Mustard greens are comparable to the pepperiness of a fresh beet and the bite of fresh baby arugula. Add some fresh in-season spinach, finely chopped chives, and a handful of plump blueberries to offset the bitterness.
Mustard greens are commonly served cooked, as to eliminate the bite. We think this voracious green adds quite an edge to an otherwise simple salad and is greatly enjoyable eaten with a fresh vinaigrette!
4. Savory Rhubarb Salsa – Recipe by Sabrina Currie
Rhubarb may most commonly be used as a pie filling so this take on rhubarb as a salsa base is fresh and creative. Macerate the diced rhubarb in sugar and vinegar to cancel out bitterness before building layers of flavor with cilantro, jalapeno, and onion.
Try this simple Savory Rhubarb Salsa with pork tenderloin for your next spring dinner.
5. Berry Stone Fruit Crisp – Recipe by Edible Ink
This easy delicious dessert uses the best fruits of spring – berries and stone fruit! Select any combination of fruit you’d like. Try a blueberry peach crisp or get adventurous with a cherry nectarine crisp. The options are endless.
For best results, utilize the best and ripest seasonal fruits you can find. This crisp is designed to be easily adapted to whatever fruits you have on hand. Snag a variety and enjoy!
6. Decadent Peach Buckle – Recipe by Edible Ink
Fresh peaches, brown sugar, light fluffy cake. This Decadent Peach Buckle has it all! And never fear — this detailed, easy-to-follow recipe walks you through the whole process of skinning the peaches and preparing the batter.
To assemble the buckle, lay down the light cake batter in the pan first, then add your sliced peaches on top. As it bakes, the juices from the peach will soak into the cake and the batter will rise up around the peaches, creating the perfect peachy bite. Yum.
7. Strawberry Cake – Recipe by Edible Ink
Here’s an ultimate cake hack — use Krusteaz Blueberry Muffin Mix to create this delectable strawberry cake! In this simple recipe, use fresh strawberries to make your own easy strawberry milk to bolster the flavor, and moisture, of this easy cake.
Sure it may sound little nuts, but trust, it WORKS. The muffin mix holds up well to the dozens of diced strawberries, ensuring they are evenly distributed throughout the cake and that they don’t just all sink to the bottom. Serve it up for your next spring gathering!