Spring Farmer’s Market Picks!
A visual, if you will: me dancing through all of the aisles at the farmer’s market a la Ellen dancing through the rows of The Ellen Show crowd. Only like, with less flexibility and worse shoes. You get the level I’m on for market season now?
I wait alllllll those snowy months (like, 11 of our 12 in MN) for the spring produce to start flooding onto the tables of local vendors and, like sand through the hourglass, my time comes. The lush, vibrant colors of fruit and vegetables* kind of arouse me if we’re being real?
I love what farmer’s markets do to the serotonin levels in my brain, I love what they make a weekend morning become; what they do for a community, so I hit the Mill City farmer’s market last weekend to scope out and pick up some of my favorite spring produce beauties I like to have on hand.
*(That word is doing one of those things where it looks like it’s spelled incorrectly so I fear I’ve been in carb-induced hibernation a tad too long).
Look for carrots that are smooth and firm (that’s what she said) and deep in color – the flavor indicator. Remove the tops before storing them in your fridge since they actually suck moisture out of the carrots but don’t toss those tips, the taste mirrors curly parsley so toss them into salads or soups to avoid waste.
Serve those sweet and crunchy vitamin sticks alongside whatever you’re grilling up for Memorial Day; roasted with a nice tahini yogurt sauce sounds exactly like what I’m trying to get into this weekend. Or maybe you have a bridal or baby shower or one of the shower things that people are obsessed with this time of year and need to bring a cake.
Or maybe you want to make a cake just to make a fucking cake in which case, you are exactly my kind of person. But shit, you forgot about that dinner party you don’t really want to go to but ~obligations~. I’m thinking’ this spicy harissa carrot hummus sounds perfect. Go a little too hard on Saturday night? This carrot, ginger, and turmeric smoothie’s got your back. I’m personally curling up with the new season of Master of None this weekend, all I need is a blanket and this carrot gnocchi.
Why is rainbow chard prettier than me??? Whatever, I’m over it. (Narrator: she wasn’t.) Look for glossy-ass leaves and really crisp stalks and be sure to wash those puppies before you store them, dirt always gets settled into the grooves. But if you’re into dirt then like whatever, live your life.
So how ’bout your patio, a new book, a glass of wine and some naan pizzas topped with chard? Or maybe some friends are dropping by? Pull together a last-minute crudite platter because even though we’re all shit shows it’s nice to be like “Oh this? Yeah idk I just kinda totally have my life together.”
I love long weekends for lots of reasons most of which include “not looking at e-mail for one less day out of the week,” but even more so because they feel more appropriate for pulling together a breakfast outside of a bowl of cereal. Something fresh, something leisurely, how about a spring omelet with your greens, some garlic and chive? Or maybe a pasta with those greens and some garlicky breadcrumbs? If you put an egg on it then it’s technically breakfast. Come Tuesday I’ll be looking to hit the reset button and I’m eyeing this spring harvest grain bowl.
Look for bright stems and bulbs and be sure to squeeze the little guys to look for a firm center.
I like radishes raw, pickled, and dipped in butter topped with flaky salt (maybe laid on top of a baguette) but bacon butter radishes sound absolutely next level. Those on some buttery toast topped with a poached egg sounds like literally the perfect company for a backyard breakfast while I read over this amazing profile on Missy Elliot. Seriously read it as slow as you can to savor it. Or maybe throw some french radishes in a nicoise salad to bring on a picnic? Or how does radish kimchi-topped Korean BBQ tacos sound?
Rhubarb should be a vibrant pink (or a lighter green), glossy but firm. Wash it before you eat it (again, the grooves thing), but do note that rhubarb freezes well for storage purposes.
Rhubarb is so nostalgic for me. It reminds me of the bushes behind my first daycare, and my grandmother’s baking; there is nothing, NOTHING, like a Minnesota grandma’s rhubarb pie. So you can go that route, or bake it into a cake, but make sure it’s this rhubarb almond cake if you do.
I’m thinking coffee and this rhubarb raspberry cobbler for the morning because, in these trying times, dessert for breakfast is the LEAST amount of self-care you can do. Or how bout a rhubarb compote? You could drizzle it over toast or ice cream (maybe compote on top of toast on top of ice cream? Omg). I’m going to put it over oatmeal with a heavy dose of cream, but you could also opt for some in a tall glass topped with champagne or prosecco. Or maybe I’ll make Nigella(tha gawd)’s pavlova and instead of berries pour a hefty dose of this magical rhubarb sauce.
I am an adult who just wiped the drool from her chin.
Liz Welle is a professional feelings feeler but gets paid to do social and digital stuff for brands in Minneapolis while occasionally food styling on the side. She lives in Uptown with her boyfriend and their thirteen plants. She is doing her best.