Spring Awakening

Ahhh, spring.

Just kidding. Sort of.

It’s a sappy sentiment, sure. Yet take a look around. Just when many of us were about to forsake the notion that spring would ever actually emerge—let alone entertain the notion that greenmarkets would ever again offer more than roots and tubers and the like in shades of mundane beige—the season somehow snuck up on us. Witness all manner of shoots and stalks and spears and sprigs and other things that unfurl in the night. And for that, we’re pretty grateful, even if they did come out to play closer to summer than we’d like.

“Ahhh,” in this instance, though, is more than sappy, it’s a sigh of relief. A long, slow exhale before finally delving headfirst into the mishmash of loveliness that is spring. The stinky wild leeks known as ramps. Brilliant stalks of rhubarb that make the eyes squint in anticipation of its sour smack. Teensy heirloom potatoes just like the ones grandma dug from her garden. Funky fiddlehead ferns with their alien-like curlicues. Slender asparagus redolent of dewy morning grass. Proper spring onions with scallion-like greens and curvaceous bulbs. Pea shoots with clingy, curly tendrils so cute they sort of call to mind Shirley Temple. Slender young shoots of black salsify in all its twiggy splendor. Tender, nutty mache—and not the sort that’s suffocating in a plastic tub. Floppy, tightly clustered sprigs of chickweed. Baby chard in every shade of a psychedelic, technicolor dream coat. Fava greens so sweet they may persuade you to forever forsake the beans and instead pluck just the leaves. Bunches of radishes piled up like so many bridal bouquets. And the siren song of the season’s first teensy, misshapen, indescribably sweet, sweet strawberries.

Spring awakening, indeed.

But that’s not what I’m thinking. You know what that is. Say it with me, aloud or to yourself, as you stand there before spring’s magnificence, whether in wonder at the market or wondering in your kitchen what to do with all the extravagance you just lugged home. Ahhh, spring.—Renee Schettler Rossi

More Spring Vegetable Recipes

Herbed Ricotta Dip with Spring Vegetables
Steamed Veggies in Parchment Parcels
Asparagus Tart
Fava Bean Puree
Roasted Radishes
Salt and Sugar Pickles
Wok-Fried Pea Shoots
Asparagus and Pecorino Salad
Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Potatoes
Roasted Strawberries



  1. We’ve all fought hard to get to Spring this year. All of us tired of damp & wet. Your piece gives me some hope that maybe, God I hope, this weekend the local farmer’s market might offer up something other than potatoes & squash… 

  2. I have always wanted to try fiddleheads but haven’t been able to find them at farmer’s markets here in southern california. What do they taste like?

    1. Green, Eva. They taste very green. And a little bitter. (Actually, a lot bitter if you don’t cook them, which you really ought. Just steam or boil ’til tender, then dress as you would an artichoke or marinate in a pickling solution…)

  3. What a perfectly painted picture you write! “Ahh, Spring” is like the reward of  coming home after a long trip or crossing the finish line after a relay race. In addition I am always amazed at how much strength and flavor is packed into such delicate looking plant beings. Deep down we must be saying “Ahh, Life”.

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