Arts & CultureFood

Bring color to your plate with these spring foods



Once upon a time, eating seasonal foods was our only option. Walking into a grocery store expecting to find a rainbow of fruits and vegetables at any time of year is a huge privilege. But even though we have the option to buy asparagus in the fall and tomatoes in the winter, quality and convenience are not always a package deal.

“If you’re buying fruits and vegetables that are out of season in Oregon, then they’re coming from a distance,” said a representative from Oregon State University Extension Service’s Master Gardener Program. “And depending on the fruit or vegetable, sometimes they’re picked before they’re totally ripe.” 

During springtime in Oregon, an array of new produce comes into season, making our meals a little tastier and our plates a little more colorful. While most fruits are still waiting for summer to roll around, there are many vegetables that thrive in Oregon’s spring. 

To name a few in-season crops: asparagus, artichokes, baby greens, carrots, cauliflower, kale, lemon, lettuce, peaches, spinach and many more. For a more extensive list, visit the Lane County Farmers Market website

“If you get something that’s locally grown, it’s generally fresher,” the representative said. “And if we can support our local farmers — particularly our small farmers — I think that’s always better for the community. Certainly not everybody has that luxury.” 

The Lane County Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is a great place to find fresh, local produce. In the meantime, try out these simple recipes using  in-season foods. 

Homemade Caesar Salad (4-5 servings)

Lettuce from Yep Yep Farms is grown through aquaponic farming, a system where plants are grown in water from the tanks of aquatic animals. The Lane County Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Phillip Quinn/Emerald)

Ingredients:

  •      2 heads of romaine lettuce*
  •      1 medium-sized clove garlic*
  •      1/3 lemon*
  •      1/3 cup olive oil
  •      1/2 cup grated parmesan
  •      1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
  •      ¼ tsp. Salt
  •      pepper (to taste)
  •      1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  •       croutons (optional)

* indicates an in-season item.

Directions:

  1.     Wash and tear up lettuce; place in large mixing bowl.
  2.     In a smaller bowl, mix the garlic (use a garlic press and then mash with the back of a spoon) with a pinch of salt until mixture is pasty. Add dijon mustard and olive oil; mix well.
  3.     Squeeze lemon over the lettuce and then mix in the dressing. Add in parmesan, croutons, and ground pepper to taste. Mix well.

Tips: Make extra dressing and save for another day (make sure to mix well before use). Try adding some grilled chicken to your Caesar to make the meal complete.

Related link: Find more springtime recipes on our website.

Asparagus and Prosciutto Pasta Salad (2 servings)

Ingredients:

  •      ½ lb. asparagus* (about 6 spears)
  •      2 tbsp. olive oil
  •      1/4 lemon* (or to taste)
  •      1/4 cup cheese of your choice (grated parmesan or feta recommended)
  •      1/3 lb. pasta of your choice (fusilli or bowtie recommended)
  •       salt and pepper
  •      1/8 lb. prosciutto

Directions:

  1.     On a medium-sized pan, heat up 1 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat. After washing and trimming about an inch off the bottom of the asparagus, place the spears on the pan. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on top, then turn down the heat to medium-low; stir occasionally and cook for about 5 minutes.
  2.     Bring a large pot of water to a boil and pour in the pasta, stirring occasionally. Depending on how you like your pasta (soft or al dente) cook for 5-8 min.
  3.     While asparagus and pasta are cooking, mix together 1 tbsp. olive oil with the lemon juice, seasoning with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix well.
  4.     Slice Prosciutto into small, thin pieces.
  5.     Drain pasta and remove asparagus from heat. Once cool, chop asparagus into bite-sized pieces.
  6.     Mix everything (pasta, asparagus, cheese, prosciutto and dressing together) in a bowl.

Tip: Store leftovers in a Tupperware container for an easy, on-the-go lunch.

Feeling sweet? Check out our springtime cupcake recipes.

Video by Connor Henzel


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Carleigh Oeth

Carleigh Oeth