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Seasonal Foods

Spring

Spring is a delightful, regenerative season, full of the promise of good things to come. These harbingers of spring offer fresh inspiration after a long dark winter, while we wait for the old faithful’s of summer to be ready for harvest.

To make the most out of spring harvest, keep these pantry staples on hand: honey, sunflower seed oil, cider vinegar, tomato flavor, apple butter, almond butter, ginger syrup, pasta sauce, and salsa.

asparagus is still called ‘Hadley Grass’ by those in the know Asparagus

Recipes

Asparagus

Hadley, MA was once known as the ‘asparagus capital of the world’. Asparagus thrived in the deep bed of fertile, sandy loam—where it was reputed the finest quality spears were grown. All townsfolk, young and old, were drafted to pick, wash, bunch, and crate asparagus during the harvest season in May and June. Although the region does not farm asparagus as extensively as it once did, asparagus is still called ‘Hadley Grass’ by those in the know, and it is where we source most of our asparagus in season.

How to eat: sauté, grill, boil, bake, roast, or raw—delicious served with eggs

Prep: give a quick rinse and trim stalk

Storage: stand in water in fridge

Pairings

Dressing: butter, creamy sauces

Entrees: light delicate seafood, chicken, poached eggs

Herbs: garlic, chives, lemon balm, mint

Wine: light whites like blancs, reislings, or a fruity pinot noir if you are partial to red

Spinach is a well-travelled vegetable! It originated in Persia Spinach

Recipes

Spinach

Spinach is a well-travelled vegetable! It originated in Persia, from there it travelled to India, then China, then the Mediterranean and via Spain to England and France. Interesting fact: during World War I, wine fortified with spinach juice was given to French soldiers weakened by hemorrhage.

How to eat: sauté, boil, steam, or raw—one of the most versatile veggies in your kitchen

Prep: wash spinach well, it grows low to the ground and can sometimes be sandy

Storage: wrap in paper towel or organic cotton in fridge veggie drawer, if stored in plastic bag, keep a square of cotton or paper towel in bag to absorb moisture and keep leaves from getting wet and slimy

Pairings

Dressing: creamy sauces, citrus, or warm savory dressings such as honey mustard

Entrees: excellent with pasta, chicken, or eggs

Herbs: chives, dill, thyme, lovage, nutmeg

Wine: light whites like chardonnays or blancs, champagne, for red a pinot grigio unless spinach is included in a heavier dish, like lasagna, in which case serve with merlot

Radishes are most often eaten crunchy and raw in salads Radishes

Recipes

Radishes

Radishes are most often eaten crunchy and raw in salads, but their uses extend far beyond that. They are one of the fastest growing veggies, the smaller varieties being ready to harvest within a month which makes them a popular start to the season in spring. Radishes are also often grown as a cover crop or companion plant as they are very pest resistant, they can also be sprouted and some radishes—daikon in particular which take much longer to grow—are grown for their seed which can be pressed into oil.

How to eat: sauté, roast, grill--enjoy sliced onto crusty, buttered bread and sprinkled with salt, greens can also be sautéed

Prep: roots don’t need to be peeled, wash both roots and greens well

Storage: separate greens from roots, greens should be wrapped in cotton or paper towel, roots should be stored in a sealed glass container or bag

Pairings

Dressing: butter, buttermilk, lemon, mustard, cream cheese

Entrees: pairs well with rich foods like salmon, avocado, or grilled meat

Herbs: chives, dill, thyme, lovage, mint, parsley

Wine: pinot gris, you want a medium bodied wine with notes of apple or pear

Pea shoots (or pea greens as they are sometimes called) are the green leaves of the traditional garden pea plant Pea Shoots

Recipes

Pea Shoots

Pea shoots (or pea greens as they are sometimes called) are the green leaves of the traditional garden pea plant. They can be harvested in just 2-4 weeks, depending on the weather, and are tender and literally bursting with pea flavor. Pea shoots are nutrient dense, contain more vitamin C than blueberries, and more vitamin A than tomatoes.

How to eat: saute, boil, steam, wilt, or raw—yummy on wraps or sandwiches, also makes a good pesto

Prep: give a quick rinse

Storage: store in sealed glass container or bag in fridge, keep a piece of paper towel alongside to absorb moisture and keep leaves dry

Pairings

Dressing: lemon, sesame seed, vinaigrettes, peanuts

Entrees: pork, scallops, shrimp, chicken, avocado

Herbs: mint, thyme, curry, nutmeg, chives, parsley, fennel

Wine: light dry wines, sauvignon blancs offer a refreshing balance

Rhubarb is a wonderful plant to have in your garden Rhubarb

Recipes

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a wonderful plant to have in your garden, it is tough and hardy, and it is a biodynamic accumulator, putting more nutrient into the soil than it removes. Only the stalks and flowers are edible. The stalks are most regularly eaten and they have a similar texture to celery stalks and have a strong, tart taste. Rhubarb roots also produce a rich, brown dye.

How to eat: chop it raw for salads and salsas, can also be pickled, or fermented into wine, but most commonly cooked down with sugar for desserts, jams, chutneys, and syrups (rhubarb syrups make an excellent addition to cocktails)

Prep: give a quick rinse and chop

Storage: store in a bag in your fridge, also dehydrates and freezes well

Pairings

Dressing: sweet dressings with honey and maple syrup complement its tart flavor, also plain yogurt

Entrees: pork, chicken, beef, goose, duck

Herbs: floral herbs like rose (rose petal) or lavender, for a spice pairing try cardamom

Wine: bordeaux or muscat, if cooked into pies or syrups, serve champagne or a riesling

Spring dug parsnips are proof of magic Spring Dug Parsnips

Recipes

Spring Dug Parsnips

Spring dug parsnips are proof of magic. Planted the previous spring, they grow all year long until the snow comes, at which point they hunker down and get busy converting all their root starches to sugar. The flavor also matures and is deeper and less acidic. Parsnips are one of the few vegetables that can over-winter in the frozen ground to be dug up in the spring.

How to eat: roast, bake, boil, mash – delicious in soups

Prep: give a quick rinse and peel

Storage: store in a perforated bag in your fridge (or leave the bag open) – although parsnips overwinter in the frozen ground well, they don’t freeze well without a blanching first

Pairings

Dressing: sherry, buttermilk, honey mustard, roasted garlic with olive oil, or a light vinaigrette if served raw in ribbons

Entrees: potatoes, white fish like pollock or tilapia, beef, venison, pork, lamb

Herbs: thyme, coriander, fennel seeds, sage

Wine: full bodies wines like a nice chardonnay, pinot noir, or (my favorite pairing for this veggie) sherry

Fiddleheads are the young fronds of the Ostrich Fern Fiddleheads

Recipes

Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads are the young fronds of the Ostrich Fern. They are harvested early in the season before they uncurl. Our fiddleheads are harvested sustainably in Western Mass along the banks of the Connecticut River. Each plant produces seven fronds early in the season, it is recommended only three are picked. They are a delicious, silly, fun spring delicacy, and are also good pickled.

How to eat: must be cooked to remove tannins, do not eat raw—boil, steam, or grill

Prep: as they are just emerging from the soil, wash well and give a second rinse in clean water

Storage: store in a perforated bag in your fridge (or leave the bag open)

Pairings

Dressing: sesame vinaigrette, roasted garlic oil, lemon, lime

Entrees: mushrooms, pasta, trout, eggs

Herbs: chives, mint, fennel

Wine: zesty white wines pair best, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, berdejo