Did you know that the sun is as high now as it was in late August? While it doesn’t exactly feel like August weather, we are getting more than 14 hours of sunlight each day. Hooray for that! Not only does that mean that the last of the snow has melted and that crocus and blue bells are daring to bloom, but it also means it is time for the Farmer’s Market to move outside. May 5th is opening day at Crystal Springs Farm and while it is likely to still be cool in the morning, you can always wrap chilly hands around a hot cup of coffee from Harpswell’s Moses Dyer Coffee Roasters while you peruse Spring’s first produce. Over forty vendors will be offering everything from mushrooms from North Spore to oysters from a new 2018 market vendor, Mere Point Oyster Company. There’s sure to be live music and plenty of familiar faces as well.
While the sun is high and the daylight is now long, spring produce is just starting to emerge. You are likely to find greenhouse greens and herbs that need just a bit more heat than nature is currently providing. And there are lots of delicious things to eat that feature these tender herbs.
But, some of my other favorite items from the early spring market are the flowers – from pale pink tulips to bright orange poppies and sunny yellow daffodils. And, did you know that there are flowers that you can eat? Marigolds and nasturtiums are delicious and peppery in a salad and pansies make mild and sweet edible adornments on cupcakes or other baked goodies. The edible flowers are also handy when trying to protect the spry shoots of young vegetable seedlings that you can also find at the spring market. Insects that like to eat these young shoots don’t like their peppery flavor. So, if you plant these lovely flowers amidst your budding vegetables, they will help to ward off insect predators – and you can eat them too.
Spring Floral Salad
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 bunch of mixed greens (baby arugula, kale, or mesclun)
A few handfuls of soft green herbs (dill, basil, parsley, for example)
A handful of edible flowers (nasturtium, pansies, marigolds)
2 T Balsamic vinegar
2 T Red wine vinegar
4 T Olive oil
1 t Honey
1 t Mustard
½ t Kosher salt
¼ Black pepper
Wash and roughly tear mixed greens if pieces are too large.
Coarsely chop or tear soft green herbs. Toss herbs, greens and flowers together in a large bowl.
Mix remaining ingredients together in a shaker (or use a mason jar with a lid).
Drizzle about 1 T of dressing per serving over the mixed greens, herbs and flowers.
Flowery Lemon Cupcakes
Ingredients (1 dozen cupcakes)
½ t baking powder
½ t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 c flour
¾ c sugar
½ c butter, softened
1 T lemon juice
1 T lemon zest
1 c whole milk ricotta
Frosting – I like cream cheese frosting
1 handful of edible flowers for decoration
Spray a muffin tin with baking spray or use paper muffin cups.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Use a mixer to cream the sugar, butter and lemon zest.
Beat in the ricotta, egg, and lemon juice.
Bake about 20 minutes.
Cool completely before frosting.
Decorate with edible flowers.
I hope you will seek out these lovely and delicious spring treats at the first outdoor Farmer’s Market of the spring this Saturday, May 5th from 830-1230.