After what has felt like a loooong winter, we are overjoyed to see green things once again popping up at our local farmer’s market. The idea for the Market Bags was started at the Kelowna Farmer’s Market so it’s only fair we highlight this amazing, local-food haven. Read on to discover how to keep your market haul fresh and snappy, plus get inspired in your kitchen with five of our fave spring recipes!
What’s in season
If you’re a local food lover, you know the pure, unadulterated thrill of seeing the first, fresh greens make their way onto the stands at the market. While true that there are always greens to be had at big-box grocery stores (just like there’s always money in the banana stand), those greens are usually from California, or further afield. We’d be hypocrites if we said we weren’t grateful for boxed spinach in December, but we do worry about local food security (or a lack thereof) and the carbon emissions being emitted just so we can have fresh spinach in the dead of Canadian winter. It ain’t great!
Savouring foods harvested in their own, specific season, for the time they’re with us (usually for a short while) is a delicious way to experience the changing of the seasons. And, it’s so fun to discover new things! Fresh produce is like a slow clap here in the Okanagan: it takes time to build, which just heightens the anticipation! In mid-April, baby spinach makes an appearance, as do some wild greens like nettles and cress. By May, salad greens are poppin’ along with bright, cheery radishes. And who could forget the first-of-the-season asparagus and strawbs (that’s short for strawberries, dontchaknow)??
Springtime is a beautiful time to check out your local farmer’s market and familiarize yourself with what’s in season. In Kelowna, this is what’s hot right now!
- Salad greens of all kinds: kale, spinach, chard, mizuna,
- Garlic greens
- Mizuna, bok choy, garlic greens, and other unique greens
- Wild edibles, like nettles
Some of our favourite market vendors for finding these bomb bites include Little Schack, 4 Elements Farm, Good n Plenty Produce, and Everything Wild. Don’t forget to BYOB to load up on the good stuff! (Wondering about a specific vendor at the Kelowna Farmer’s Market? Check out their vendor list and find your faves!)
Tips for storing your finds
Once you get your market haul home, it’s time to keep things lookin’ fresh! Here in Canada, we waste about half of the food we purchase. Gross! Let’s beat food waste and eat our market hauls. Here are some easy tips to keep your produce crunchy, fresh, ‘n’ fragrant.
- Wrap washed greens in a damp tea towel
- Hydrate yo veg: it’s amazing how fresh and snappy things like carrots, asparagus, and even herbs can be if just given a little water. We use 16oz wide-mouth mason jars to with about a ½ inch of water in the bottom. Anecdotal evidence suggests asparagus will last for over a week in a jar of water like it ain’t no thang.
- Keep greens in a glass container and they last for w-e-e-k-s (here's another reason to shop local: your spring greens will outlast any box of spinach flown in from California. Trust us!)
We’re all about using the containers and bags you already have around to preserve your market hauls: if all you’ve got are Tupperware, those will work! Reusing a ziplock freezer bag for the millionth time? GREAT. Just wrap your veg in a towel before popping them in your bag. And we l-o-v-e exploring secondhand shops and thrift stores for fun, effective containers (hello mason jars).
But, we’d be lying if we said we don’t love Market Bags for helping keep our greens krisp. Wrap ‘em in a damp towel, pop ‘em into one of our cloth bags, and voila: so fresh, so yum yum! You can also explore glass containers with lockable lids in either durable plastic or bamboo, like these from Ikea, that we’re currently digging (not a sponsored post, just gushing).
There are so many ways to keep your food fresh! Do you have a secret method?
What to make with your local goodies
You’ve made it through the market and your produce is chillin’ like a villain. Now it’s time to get down and dirty in the kitchen! Here are our top 5 favourite recipes to make with our springtime hauls. We love them for their simplicity (great if you’re strapped for time or the littles are ready for a picnic in the park) and taste-bud-popping flavour.
- Grilled or sautéed asparagus - drizzled with lemon, olive oil, S&P (top with some grated romano if you’re into the moo-cow-cheese thang)
- Stinging nettle quiche - grab some fresh eggs and wild nettles and you've got yourself an amazing weekend brunch option! (optional: chop up some wild garlic and add to the mix)
- Spinach salad with fresh strawbs - who said salads have to be boring?
- Strawberry slab pie - for when you want pie, but are too tired/lazy/uncaring to make a real crust (pro tip: add rhubarb!)
- Jugo Verde - we recently escaped for a lil’ R&R to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and drank this every damn day. Jugo Verde is essentially green juice, blending together spinach, pineapple, ginger, celery, and oranges. Use a nut mylk bag for straining (or leave it thick for the ultimate green smoothie. (Want to go the extra mile? Add cactus paddles (nopales)! We found ours at Choices Markets in Kelowna.)
Cheers to all things fresh, green, and SPRING! What’s your favourite recipe to make with your market haul?