Seasonal produce to bring in spring

Right now, supermarket shopping can be a stressful experience, so it’s time to try out the nearest farm shop.

Not only are they stocking great, farm fresh produce, but the shops themselves tend to be quieter than supermarkets too. If you are keen to support local growers whilst getting the best quality produce, keep an eye out for some of the treats that are in-season in the UK at the moment.

 

New potatoes

The first new potatoes are just starting to make an appearance and are best between April and July. Smash them with butter and fresh mint or boil them before adding rosemary, salt and a glug of olive oil. You might even fancy a fresh spring potato salad to go with your BBQ in this warm weather!

 

Morel Mushrooms

The wrinkly cousin of the mushrooms you usually buy. Although they are poisonous when raw, morels have a nutty, meaty flavour when thoroughly cooked through. They are brilliant for dehydrating and storing for later use and can provide fabulous depth of flavour. For example, you could use them combined with other exotic mushrooms to create a delicious risotto. Although native to the UK, morels are uncommon, but can be bought in April and May.

 

Radishes

These root vegetables start to make an appearance from the end of April. With their vibrant pink colour, peppery flavour and crisp, crunchy texture, they make a great addition to your spring salads. When choosing the right bunch, go for those that are small and firm as these will be the crispiest inside. Also aim for a bunch with perky greens attached, these signal how fresh your radishes are and can be washed and eaten in salads too. If you want to really showcase this pretty veg, why not try pickling them for an interesting accompaniment to your meals.

 

Rhubarb

The crumble favourite won’t be around for long, its short season only lasts April to June. So now is the time to fulfil all of your jam or pie-making desires! The majority of Britain’s rhubarb is grown in The Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle, near Wakefield. The area is famous for producing forced rhubarb, which is grown in the dark to speed up the process. Farm shops will likely be full of the stuff at the moment but keep an eye out for any stalks that have gone soft and flexible, these are less fresh. The sharp flavour of this vegetable can be sweetened to make wonderful desserts or jams, or added in to cocktails. If you prefer savoury flavours, you could try a rhubarb chutney or roast the stalks to accompany your preferred meat, pork works especially well.

 

Spring onions

These onions are available all year-round but spring brings the youngest and most tender. Look for the smallest and thinnest as these are the young bulbs and taste best. Avoid any with wilting greens as these won’t be as fresh. With their mild flavour, spring onions are an essential base for many Asian dishes and can be combined with ginger to make a fresh and crunchy stir fry. Or you might want to create a more classic flavour combination by baking a cheese and onion loaf.

 

Asparagus

The asparagus season signals the start of spring for farmers. The spears grow best in cool, relatively dry conditions and are harvested from the end of April until June. This nutritious vegetable contains vitamins K, A, C and E and is packed with fibre. You can add asparagus to pies, omelettes, pastas and traybakes. If you’re in the mood for a fancy brunch the spears pair brilliantly with eggs and Parma ham, or combine them with other green veg to make a vibrant and delicious addition to your Sunday lunch.

 

Whatever you do with your purchases, a visit to your nearest farm shop will support local farmers whilst providing you with the freshest produce. The array of seasonal fruits and vegetables that are available might inspire you to try a new recipe or get creative with your evening meal.

*Some farm shops have moved to a collection/delivery-only business model, but others remain open to customers with extra hygiene procedures to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. Please check out online before making a journey.

Are you loving spring? We have also written about seasonal sights that will brighten your day!

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