We interrupt this program to bring you the customary May Edition of ‘What’s In Season Now’. Many of the recommendations made in both the March and April editions are still applicable; if you missed it before, be sure to check those out now!
Last night I baked a Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. It was delicious both in that it tasted like heaven and that it’s a sure sign, even here in the land of never-ending winters, the season of fresh harvested bounty is upon us.
While the rhubarb was harvested just a couple hundred feet from my front door, the strawberries were not local. Had we not already devoured all of those I’d frozen last summer they could have been, but alas we had. And as unfortunate as it is, strawberries and rhubarb have yet to get the memo that they should ripen at the same time — what with them being so very complementary to one another when coated in honey, sprinkled with cinnamon and baked into a flaky crust — and my children have yet to get the memo that frozen strawberries are supposed to last us until the following strawberry season.
The uncooperative nature of strawberries and rhubarb aside, May is probably one of the most diverse months of the early growing season in the Northern Hemisphere. As the climate in the north just begins to warm to true growing temperatures, in the southern and more temperate locales summer’s gifts are making their first appearances at Farmer’s Markets.
Those strawberries I won’t be able to source locally for another month are already gracing farm stands in some places, for instance. And don’t be fooled by their smaller stature when compared to their supermarket cousins. In every one of those small berries is ten-times the flavor — and one-hundred times the ethical ego-boost.
Beside them early blueberries are making appearances as citrus fruits close-up shop; garbanzo beans — while a lot of prep work — and fava beans also start showing up in their fresh, rather than dried form. Greens of all kinds are still in their glory in many places and can inspire myriad dishes when you get creative by serving them sautéed, steamed and even raw in all their forms; collard and chard are delicious drizzled with a favorite vinegar. Radishes, like asparagus, may be winding down in warmer areas, but in the cooler north they’re producing at peak; and make an excellent addition to salads and atop crostini with dinner. Likewise peas are a raw treat for kids and adults alike and later in the month even cherries will start to make an appearance some places.
What are you seeing at the Farmer’s Market this month? And even better, what are you doing with it? Share your favorite May finds, tips, tricks and recipes in the comments below and I’ll feature the best of the best later this month in a column!
And just one last note before I leave you to your shopping: Not sure where to find a farmer’s market near you? Check out Local Harvest for help. Not sure how to shop a farmer’s market? Never been before? Check out the farmer’s market guide that was featured right here at Try Handmade last year for tips!