SPRING HEADER

spring2 copy 2Spring in Louisiana is one of my favorite times of year–it’s right when (early) warm weather produce starts showing up at local

farmers’ markets in the form of Ponchatoula Strawberries and English peas, artichokes, and vibrant spinach. During the months of March – May, chefs find themselves with plenty of new, fresh options for their guests and tables while still having access to lemons and other varieties of citrus that grow during the winter months. Herbs such as mint, rosemary, and lavender pair nicely with chicken, Boudin, oysters, tuna, and shrimp, and fishing season is in full swing.

Of course, growing seasons vary greatly between Southern and Northern Louisiana with climate and natural resources acting as variables (soil quality, or previous year’s crops, for example). When conditions allow, spring vegetables from asparagus to sweet potatoes and strawberries to late winter citrus (like grapefruit) may be seen at your local farmers’ markets or produce stands.

For an idea of what’s in season, waning, or becoming available, consult the chart above. Green highlights indicate a vegetable’s or fruit’s availabilities during the months of March through May, whereas empty (white) boxes indicate the produce is out of season.

Farmers’ Markets / Produce Stands

Divided into 64 Parishes, Louisiana is home to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables from the Gulf coast to its northern-most parishes (Bossier, Union, Clairborne, Morehoues, and West Carroll). Always check to see what your local farms have available, but for a list of Farmers’ Markets and Produce Stands, see regional, parish-specific breakdowns on the Louisiana Grown website (updated 5/22/12).

Spring Recipes: Building Your Own Fresh Table

Artichokes

Artichokes with Red Pepper Aioli

Crawfish

Boiled Crawfish

Crawfish Etouffé Ravioli

Crawfish Tacos with Avocado Crema

Peas (or, Pea-inspired)

Edamame w/Thyme

Green Beans with Almonds

Creamy Saffron Bamboo Rice with Cardamom

Strawberries

(French) Berry Tart

Cherry Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Crêpes w/Nutella

Strawberry Pavlova with Chocolate

Strawberry Scones

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Tart

(Other) Fruits, Including Late-Winter/Early Spring Citrus:

Fruit Salad

Orange Grand Marnier Tart

Raspberry Cream Tartlets

Onions

Spring Onion Crostini

Peppers

Red & Yellow Bruschetta

Seafood – Shrimp

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Bisque by Denicola’s Foods

Spinach

Cheesy Grits with Garden Vegetables

Zucchini

Zucchini Salad w/Spicy Wasabi

Resources –

Shrimp / Seafood Fishing Schedule by Season at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Garden Centers (Growing) and Lawn Services

Louisiana Harvest Calendar – Louisiana Gov

Production Recommendations, LSU Ag Center