Another week has flown by and my fridge is fully stocked with spring goodies- local, mostly organic and seasonal, from the market and co-op yesterday. (click here to read about my zero waste shopping routine). In the past, I used to be kind of bored with spring food- all the flavors seemed mild to me- but I’m really enjoying everything fully this year. The gentle breezes, the mild afternoons and crisp mornings, technicolor blooms everywhere you look, the intensely sweet fragrance of blooms from my citrus trees heavy in the air. I’m appreciating this fleeting moment and all the food that comes with it, since soon it will be scorching hot summer- slow and deliciously lazy days, watermelon juice running down sticky chins and hands, the crunch of salty sea hair, shoulder tops a burnished bronze.
This year was the first year that I started buying almost exclusively local produce. No buying plastic wrapped cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and blueberries from Trader Joe’s and Costsco in the dead of winter this year. I used to go to the farmer’s market for incidentals, just a few items, whatever struck my fancy, and then purchase cheaper items trucked/flown in from Mexico, Costa Rica, and more for out of season produce- packed in plastic most of the time. Not to mention the social cost- this video about pineapples really opened my eyes. Frozen, plastic bagged fruit was a staple in our house. Honestly I never thought I could quit it, or that I would even want to. But I did, instead focusing on fruit that was available- pears, pomegranates, apples, citrus, plumping up local dried raisins for our oatmeal, and preserves from the summer. This is what my grandparents always did, and it felt so good this year, eating this way. Now eating out of season foods seems unnatural and unappealing to me. Local produce is much more fresh than anything I could buy in a store, with produce from the farmers market often picked less than 24 hours before, which translates to more nutrients and better taste.
I feel like with all the affordable, local, and seasonal bounty at my fingertips in California, it’s almost my duty to shop and eat this way, since many people don’t share this privilege. It’s kind of like having access to fresh clean tap water but still buying bottled water while people in our own country (Flint, MI comes to mind) and beyond don’t have access to clean drinking water at. What’s available, realistic, and sustainable for you may differ. I’m just sharing my experience and hopefully inspiring you to adopt a more seasonal, local diet if you can. This is what I bought and what I’m planning to cook this week with it all. (click here to read about plastic free fridge storage for produce)
At the farmers market:
tangerines: going out of season and I’m enjoying the last of them, on the kids morning chia oats, chia pudding, and as a snack in the afternoon (especially good with some dark chocolate- I love the lily’s stevia sweetened sea salt one).
pink lady apples: chopped into oats with cinnamon, walnuts, and brown sugar; as a snack with almond butter, apple pie spice, and dates.
asparagus: for a chickpea flour fritatta, something like this base recipe (such a great creamy, custardy protein rich sub for egg based fritattas).
leeks: the leeks vinaigrette last week was SO good, I had to make it again, and I will add cooked french green lentils this time for a texturally interesting protein boost.
beets: chopped, steamed, and tossed with french lentils, parsely leaves, thyme, mustard vinaigrette, and tofu feta.
kale: chickpea caesar again. It was that good. Update: we took it to the farmers market concert in the park Wednesday for a picnic dinner and it was perfect. Pictured below, with hummus and veggies.
broccoli and spring onions: roasted and tossed with pasta, in a sandwich, tucked into a tortilla with some refritos …options are endless here.
fava beans: I’m thinking a sort of spring polenta like this one with millet.
mushrooms: shiitakes and a portabello for this mushroom “stoup”– a standby in our house, I use gf all purpose blend instead of the regular flour and it works well.
collards: for collard wrap lunches; I tuck in whatever leftovers I have, or hummus + roasted sweet potato + avocado and herbs is always a good combo.
carrots: for snacking and this french grated carrot salad.
radishes: for pickling and eating with hummus.
potatoes: for the mushroom stoup and also to slice thinly, boil, and toss with leftovers or veggies, chickpeas + vinaigrette for Carmela’s lunch.
avocados: self explanatory.
red leaf lettuce: for sandwiches.
cucumbers: I literally squealed when I saw these tiny Persian beauties back at the market. They are the ultimate crunch and are perfect size for lunches, or i love to make this smashed cucumber salad with ginger and red onion.
sourdough baguette: I slice this into sandwich appropriate pieces and then freeze in a cloth bag for the week. We pull out and bake or broil as needed.
At the store I bought:
coconut milk for more coconut yogurt
hand of bananas for Carmela’s lunchbox cookies (one of the only non local produce items I still buy, but a way smaller amount than we used to- I used to buy a whole case every month)
coconut shreds: for the cookies and the aforementioned rawnola.
sesame seeds: we were out, I pan toast these and put them on everything.
olive oil: we were out, I’ve been using it for salads and soups and such.
black pepper: cost me less than $1 to refill.
red chili flakes
celery: I love celery for snacking and soups, (this one in particular, which makes use of all the leaves, too) and sometimes I can’t get it at the market.
carrots: double carrots? We go through a lot. I went to the store the day before the market and wanted them. They’re still local. see above for the carrot salad.
chickpea flour: for the fritatta.
We still had a lot of beans/lentils/oats/rice from last week in the pantry, so I didn’t need to buy much this week. I’ll update throughout the week with photos of what I make. I’ll also make some basics, like a big pot of chickpeas for hummus and chickpea salad sandwiches.
Click here to see more spring meals that I cooked last week. Thanks for reading, lots of love and enjoy the little bit left of the weekend!