Sweet fresh peas and a spring crop of artichokes make their appearance this month at your farmers market.
Swank Farm, Nunez Organic Farm, and J&M Farm will all have mounds of fresh peas, both in the pod and shelled for your convenience.
These luscious little orbs of flavor are perfect for spring salads and side dishes, soups and more.
Tasty spring artichokes are also here from Northridge Farms. Straight from the artichoke capitol of the world, Salinas, their artichokes make great appetizers when served with an aioli dip or sauteed and added to pasta.
Asian produce is returning the market with fresh exotic greens like bok choy, Chinese broccoli, mustard greens, herbs of all kinds, lemon grass, daikon and so much more.
FT Fresh and Micro Farms bring you the freshest greens available, so try something new.
Local blueberries and strawberries are returning to the market this month. This antioxidant-rich super food is so good you won't mind eating your vitamins.
And fresh local strawberries are arriving. Toss both these delightful fruits on cereal or yogurt, add to blueberry muffins or strawberry bread, sprinkle on fresh spinach salad, or just eat by the handful. Fantastic!
Atlas Peak Olive Oil from Napa is one of our newest producers. They grow their own olive trees and their current spring bottling comes straight to you from trees that have been growing since 1882.
They offer varietal oils like Arbequina and mission, packaged dried spices, and bath products made with olive oil to soothe the skin. Stop by and say hello.
Here is a wonderful simple recipe using fresh spring peas, asparagus, and fava beans. We're sure your whole family will enjoy it.
1/2 red onion (finely diced)
2 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large leeks (cleaned, sliced)
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound asparagus (trimmed)
1/2 pound English peas
1/2 pound fava beans (blanched, peeled)
Mix the bread cubes with the garlic, olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss to coat well. Transfer bread to a saute pan on medium-high heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir often to avoid burning, until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft within, about 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
Mix the red onion with the vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside for a few minutes before whisking in the remaining olive oil. Set aside.
Cut off dark green tops of leeks and trim root ends. Halve each leek lengthwise to within 2 inches of root end. Rinse well under cold running water to wash away sand. Cover leeks with cold water in a 12-inch heavy skillet. Add salt and simmer leeks, uncovered, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Without draining the cooking water (you will reuse it for the asparagus), transfer leeks to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then pat the leeks dry with paper towels. Break off tough ends of asparagus and cook it in the boiling water until crisp-tender, no more than three minutes if they're pencil-thin, more if your asparagus is thicker. Transfer it to another bowl of ice water, drain and pat it dry.
Cut the leeks and the asparagus each into one-inch segments -- the leeks will be especially slippery and prone to separating; hold firm and use a sharp knife. Place pieces in a large bowl and mix in beans and cooled Parmesan croutons. Pour vinaigrette over and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.
Farmers markets are open rain or shine.
Danville Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday year-round, Railroad and Prospect avenues.
Dublin Farmers Market: 4-8 p.m. Thursdays through September. Emerald Glen Park at Central Parkway and Tassajara Road.
Livermore Farmers Market: Sundays year-round, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at South L Street and Railroad Avenue.
Pleasanton Farmers Market: Saturdays, 9 a.m. -1 p.m. year-round, Main and W. Angela streets.
San Ramon Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays year-round, Bishop Ranch 2 parking lot, Bollinger Canyon Road and Sunset Drive.
The Time is Ripe is a monthly column written by Debra Morris, promotions coordinator for the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association. Contact her at email@example.com.