There are many people who love spring, and if they like to cook or eat, they might suggest famous springtime delicacies as evidence that spring isn’t just a forty-five-degree puddle of dirty rainwater. “What about asparagus?” they might ask. “Peas? Rhubarb? Fresh spring greens? Ramps? Fiddleheads?” Those are indeed all good things—even the last two which are wildly overrated and basically just differently shaped and absurdly overpriced scallions and asparagus stems, respectively.
Where the spring defenders are wrong is in asserting that these items are actually available for a reasonable chunk of spring—which I am identifying, for the record, as the months of March, April, and May. March and most of April are still, in terms of local produce, wintertime. Do not eat asparagus this week. Or peas or rhubarb. You won’t even be able to find non-supermarket-bagged spring greens. None of that is in season until, if we’re being generous, the last three days of April. With rare exceptions like the mango, the beginning of April is, in terms of availability of seasonal produce, exactly the same as the beginning of March. And the beginning of February.
One good thing you can still eat are some of the brassicas, sturdy champs which remain, if not fresh, then at least hardy and adequate through the winter and first two-thirds of spring. Cauliflower, kale, and, my favorite, broccoli, are our only friends during some of these months. People love broccoli now! It is respected and adored as a healthful and delicious vegetable. But many people are not eating the broccoli correctly, because they are eating only the florets.