For the first quarter century of my life I thought that I hated beets in all their forms. Hated. “They taste like dirt! I’d adamantly regurgitate. I’m sure I’d heard it somewhere, at some point, because I’d never actually tried them myself. And while it’s true, they can taste like dirt, one day in what I like to pretend was no cosmic accident, I picked up a salad from a local market; a salad that contained — unbeknownst to me — pickled beets and a love affair was spawned.
As it turns out I love beets. At least when they’re sweet pickled. I could sit and eat them straight from the jar with a fork. And I probably will as soon as our 2011 crop ripens and I’ve pickled up another year’s supply. You see, I’ve been out of pickled beets for quite sometime now and my patience is growing weary. Everything in this area — and so many others — is considerably behind this season. While beets should be a staple of May production even in some of the more northern parts of the country it may very well be June before we see any. In the meantime, I may have to tide myself over with a jar from Pick-a-Peck. There is no better way to dress up salad greens and spinach — my favorite is a greek style spinach salad with feta — and if spring continues on in the manner it has been greens and spinach may be just about the only local bounty we’ve got to work with.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes peeled. And, especially if you’re in a more southern locale, you may just get lucky. In addition to beets, asparagus continues cropping up from south to north this month, strawberries will start producing in most of the southern states working their way towards a June and July harvest up north, potatoes are making their appearance along side many of the cole and brassica crops — cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and the like — and green onions — one of spring’s tender delights — will also start gracing market tables.
As always for more relevant seasonal food shopping tips be sure to check out the full What’s In Season Now series. It’s impossible to mention all the seasonal produce it’s possible to find at Markets around the country so be sure to pay special attention to recent months’ editions and this month’s edition from previous years for inspiration. Happy Market Shopping!
*Both the beet and green onion photos above are Fine Art Prints, click either photo to be taken to the artist’s Etsy Shop. Vegetable photos make excellent kitchen decor!