The long weekend has come and gone, and that means it’s time to get in the soil and start planting. Whether planting seeds or seedlings, now that the fear of overnight frost is over, it’s time to set some roots in your garden and get those veggies growing. Or it’s time to head over to your local farmers market or CSA pick up to get munching on local food.

Why Go Local?
In Ontario, we have a very limited growing season that starts in April/May and ends in October. Since our winters are so harsh, it’s often challenging to get delicious, fresh local food during those months. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the local foods that are available in spring and summer. These seasonal veggies and fruits retain their nutrients since they have less distance to travel before they reach your plate.

What You Need to Be Eating Right Now
1. Radishes
Easter egg, rover, cherriette, cherry belle, watermelon, pink beauty, ping pong and white icicle are just a few varieties of radishes growing right now. While the cherry belles are the most popular to grow these crunchy and spicy veggies have a short growing cycle, only taking around 22 days. This means that you can be munching on radishes all summer long.

cucumber-radish-salad

Spicy Spring Radish & Cucumber Salad
1 cucumber, sliced thinly
6 radishes, sliced thinly
½ cup fresh mint, chopped
4 garlic scapes or green onions, sliced thinly
3 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 lime, squeezed
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
3 Tablespoons black sesame seeds

1. Slice the cucumber and radishes thinly or use a mandolin to do so.
2. Slice the garlic scapes or green onions into thin strips and cut the mint.
3. Place all vegetables together in a bowl and then toss with sesame oil, lime, chili flakes and black sesame seeds.

2. Asparagus
These long, tender shoots are also known as a natural aphrodisiac. Asparagus are the quintessential spring veggie only popping up from the soil in May and June. Local asparagus is a delicacy and I highly recommend getting yourself some before their growing season ends. These green stalks are also antioxidant powerhouses, so let them nourish your cells and prevent chronic diseases while mowing down.

shaved-asparagus

Shaved Asparagus with Pine Nuts
1 bunch asparagus
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon, squeezed
2 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of pepper
parmesan, large thin slices to garnish

1. Slice the asparagus into ribbons using a peeler or a paring knife.
2. Place pine nuts in a toaster oven and lightly toast until golden brown. Watch them and don’t let them burn.
3. Mix the olive oil, lemon, and honey together in a bowl. Place the asparagus in a bowl and pour dressing over.
4. Mix around so that the asparagus is coated. Add in the sea salt and pepper and mix again. Top with pine nuts and parmesan slices.
5. Serve and eat immediately as the asparagus will wilt. If you are making this ahead of time do not dress the asparagus until you are ready to eat.

Chives
Chives are growing everywhere right now, even in places you may not want them to. These perennials are prolific and are a part of the allium family along with onions and garlic. They have a great onion flavour without the same bite and have some of the same nutritional properties as their allium cousins. Chive blossoms are beautiful purple flowers that grow on the top the scapes. They are edible and can be infused in oils to make delicious salad dressings.

chive-pesto

Chive Pesto
1 bunch chives
½ lemon
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon honey

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, creamy and green.
2. Place on top of fish, chicken or roasted potatoes.

 

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