What’s in Season in March
At The Original Farmers Market, Los Angeles, we think nothing in the world tastes better than fresh-picked fruits and veggies, especially those that have matured right here under the California sun.
If, like us, you prefer to buy your fruits and veggies when they are the freshest off the farm, here’s an insider’s guide to the best fruits and veggies available in March.
Farmers Market Favorites
While Idaho is obviously the main producer of potatoes in the United States, plenty of California farms, especially in the Bakersfield area produce potatoes, especially smaller, specialty brands. In March, we just can’t think of St. Patrick’s Day without craving some boiled potatoes.
We love this veggie for its versatility. You can bake it, boil it, mash it, fry it and even cook it twice, and when carefully prepared—i.e. not frying or loading it up with butter and sour cream—the potato is low in calories, a good source of vitamin C. and is known to help with digestion, heart health, blood pressure and even cancer prevention.
One of our favorite side dishes, French fries, were introduced to the United States when Thomas Jefferson asked his chef for “potatoes served in the French manner” for a White House event, which is apparently also the first time someone referred to this style of preparation as “French.”
The potato also has the distinction of being the first vegetable to have been grown in space. In October 1995, students at the University of Wisconsin, Madison developed a technique for creating a sustainable crop to feed astronauts on long space voyages, as well as providing sustenance for future space colonies.
Special Treat: Can’t decide how you like your potato? Request a half-and-half order of French fries and tater tots at Fritzi Coop. Be sure to order some of Fritzi Coop's amazing chicken gravy on the side. You'll never look at French fries the same way again. Or try an out-of-this-world Potato Piroshki (pictured below) at T&Y Bakery. This treat is so popular, T&Y shared it in the L.A.’s Original Farmers Market Cookbook, so you can also make it at home.
In 2013, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome declared artichokes to be the official vegetable of the state of California. Nearly 100% of all commercially grown artichokes are raised right here in California. Packed with nutrients, one medium artichoke contains nearly 25% of your daily recommended fiber. Furthermore, one cup of artichoke hearts offers more antioxidants than the same amount of cranberries. They are also rumored to be an aphrodisiac.
Much of the state’s artichokes are grown in Monterey County, where the Castroville Artichoke Festival is an annual tradition. In 1948, the festival’s Artichoke queen was none other than a young Marilyn Monroe, pictured here at Farmers Market, albeit with cheescakes not chokes.
Special Treat: On your next visit to Farmers Market, pick up some Artichoke Lemon Spread at Mr. Marcel Gourmet Market. This zesty spread livens up almost any freshly baked bread and it’s the perfect pick-me-up snack.
When March rolls around, we know that a tasty bunch of asparagus can’t be far behind. The veggie, said to date back to 3,000 BC, is believed to have been called the “Food of the Gods” by Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Asparagus has so many health benefits, it’s hard to know where to begin. The National Cancer Institute says asparagus is the highest-tested food containing glutathione, which is one of the body's most potent cancer fighters. And, after a long night of St. Patrick’s Day celebrating, some research has shown that the minerals in asparagus are believed to alleviate the effects of hangovers.
Special Treat: The perfect complement to asparagus is a carefully roasted salmon filet. The two come together at Marmalade Cafe, in the Salmon and Asparagus Farfalle, which is prepared with a tasty lemon Chardonnay cream.
Seasonal Veggies Harvested in March
Artichokes, Asparagues, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Potatoes, Rutabaga, Turnips
Seasonal Fruits Harvested in March
Clementines, Grapefruit, Kumquats, Lemons, Lime, Mandarins, Oranges, Strawberries, Tangelos, Tangerines
Looking forward: Learn more about What's in Season in April at our Market Buzz blog now.