Years ago, before we had the luxury of fresh produce year round, the arrival of spring’s first tender green things—peas, lettuces and asparagus—heralded a moment of great satisfaction. Certainly, the delicacy and subtle flavors of spring’s earliest vegetables provided a tonic of much-missed vitamins to diners who ate only preserved vegetables all winter long.
Today, we can celebrate these sweet delights any time of year, and a multi-vitamin every morning fends off any worries about their absence. But the spring trinity still seems best suited to its growing season. Lettuces bolt as days warm, and peas need the cool days and nights of spring to fare well. The brief season for asparagus—just six to eight weeks—is a window of pleasure every spring.
Look for peas, lettuces and asparagus at your farmers’ market now. They are among the first crops to arrive, and the give you reason to celebrate the edible riches that lie ahead as spring turns to summer.
— By Robin Mather