Shopping the Spring Farmer's Market
Spring farmer’s markets can be as simple as a few produce stands or as elaborate as dozens of vendors selling everything from local eggs and meat to freshly harvested produce to cut flowers, potted plants, homemade baked goods, soaps, candles, local wines, jellies, and more. You may even find live entertainment, concession stands, and food trucks adding to the bustling atmosphere. The experience of a modern-day farmer’s market alone is well worth the visit, and you’ll bring home some delicious, fresh-tasting products to enjoy and use in recipes.
Since larger farmer markets can be overwhelming to first-time goers, make sure you take a lap around the market when you first get there to see what is available. There may be multiple vendors selling the same products, and some may let you taste a sample to help you make decisions. If buying locally is a priority for you, you can ask the vendor where the produce is grown; even at your local farmer’s market, some items may be trucked in from a couple of states away.
What to bring to the market:
- Canvas shopping bags or a small cart to hold your purchases. Vendors may not have plastic or paper bags available, so you’ll want to bring your own.
- Small bills and change for vendors who only take cash.
- A stroller, or even better, a wagon for very young children. Wagons are a great choice for the farmer’s markets because they also give you a convenient way to cart your purchases.
What you'll find in season during spring:
- Lettuce and other leafy greens. Many farmer’s markets will offer a wider selection of greens in the spring than your local grocery store. You’ll find a variety of lettuces, arugula, spinach, Asian greens and more.
- Fresh herbs. Mint and parsley are often available year-round in grocery stores, but they do especially well in the spring. Look for these and more at your spring market.
- Asparagus, peas, and other spring veggies. Asparagus and peas come into season in the spring and continue into the summer in many areas. Root vegetables such as new potatoes, baby carrots (true baby carrots – not the grocery store cut version), scallions, sweet onions, garlic, and radishes are often available in the spring. You may also find morels foraged in the wild at specialty stands.
- Spring fruits. As with all produce, the selection of fruits available at the market will vary geographically from one region to another. Look for rhubarb and strawberries as two of the earlier fruits available, along with apricots, grapefruit, and kiwis in warmer climates.
Looking for recipe ideas for your spring farmer’s market purchases? Try these:
- Fettucine with Peas, Leeks and Thyme
- Strawberry and Arugula Salad with Cocoa Spiced Pecans
- Veal Milanese with Arugula Topping and Vodka Sauce
- Sensational Strawberry Mint Smoothie
- Asian Style Ramen Salad
- Roasted Asparagus with Pesto & Lemon
- Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Fresh Asparagus and Red Peppers
- Lemon-Dill Salmon with Asparagus Couscous
- Sugar Snap Peas and Shrimp Salad
- Apple-Rhubarb Pie