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It may not feel like it yet, but we’re getting closer and closer to fresh veggies from the garden, leisurely strolls through our favorite farmers’ markets and flip flops. We’ve talked before about eating seasonally, and how it’s not just good for you and your taste buds but for the environment, too.  With that in mind, let’s look at what’s coming up in spring.

In Maryland, Virginia and DC, we’ve got a pretty good selection of fresh veggies coming before too long.  We’ll have to wait a while for tomatoes and watermelons, but before you know it, we’ll be crunching fresh lettuce, saying goodbye to dried spices, and generally waking our taste buds from their long winter’s nap.  Here are a few of our favorite spring veggies:

Arugula:  Best in spring and fall because it loves cooler weather, this herb adds a little zing to your salad.

Asparagus: Grill it, roast it, throw it in a soup or on your salad, this veggie is best in spring when it’s young and tender.

Cilantro:  Get your salsa ready and head outside!  Your tacos, guacamole, and other Mexican favorites just perked up (not to mention lots of your favorite Indian and Asian dishes)!

New Potatoes:  These are younger versions of your favorite potatoes, so they don’t need as much time to mature—welcome spring!

Peas:  Plant ‘em early, eat ‘em in late April.

Radishes:  Radishes are so easy to grow!  Plant the seeds and almost every one will take—voila! Fresh and crunchy for your salad!

Greens:  Packed with vitamins and good stuff, greens love cooler weather and will light up your spring with flavor!

Spinach:  One of our favorite ways to eat a salad is with spinach!  Those tender, young leaves are the best, and if you get it in the ground early, you’ll be eating by the end of April.

The spring favorites that we’ll see first will be grown in the more southern parts of our MD/VA/DC area, and the ones grown further north will fill in shortly after.  While we’re all grateful for modern transportation and the fact that we can have fresh fruits and veggies grown in warmer areas flown to us in our darker and colder days, there’s nothing like a tomato, ripened on the vine, picked at its peak and on your table the next day because it was grown just up the road from you.  It tastes better, it packs more of the good stuff you want when it’s picked at its peak, and it feels better knowing that you’ve shopped (and eaten) with your planet in mind.

We do our best at Brown Bag to get our ingredients from local sources, to support our local growers, and to do our part in preserving the environment.  We can’t wait for that first tomato, that red, ripe watermelon, our first spring salad, and that corn, freshly shucked.  Spring and summer are coming.  What are you looking forward to?

Want to pick your own fruits and veggies but don’t have your own garden?  Give this site a try: http://www.pickyourown.org/index.htm#states.