Get Fresh: Farmers’ Markets make Great Classrooms's featured image

With the spring harvest kicking off another great year of fresh, local produce, it’s time to plan a family outing to a local Farmers’ Market.

This is a great way to spend time together and to have fun while learning something healthy and delicious. When you buy food from the farm you can teach children that eating local farm-grown food helps farmers, the local community and the environment. And, many experts say locally grown food tastes better too.

Here is a list of some of the most popular spring vegetables:

Asparagus: Asparagus shoots are the first vegetable to pop out of the ground in spring, and for a month or two, the fields need to be harvested frequently. Asparagus may be the most popular spring vegetable – and it tastes amazing steamed, pan-roasted or grilled.

Fiddleheads: Fiddleheads grow wild in the forest and start popping up when frost subsides and things start to warm up.  A cousin of asparagus, kids will be fascinated by these funny-looking fern-like vegetables. There’s no guarantee they’ll try them though. This vegetable has a grassy yet earthy flavour with hints of artichoke, fava beans and mushrooms. Steam or sauté fiddleheads (but never eat them raw).

Spring Lettuces: One of the tastiest spring lettuces is called mâche, or lambs’ lettuce. It’s soft and tender and delicious on its own or mixed in with other greens in a salad.

Peas Please: Sweet peas are plump and sweet! Kids of all ages love to pop them out of their pods – right into their mouth! They taste good raw or steamed.

Radishes: Spring radishes are small, sweet and really crunchy.  They’re delicious on their own with a little salt or sliced into a salad.

Rhubarb: While it’s technically a vegetable, rhubarb is prepared and eaten like fruit. Its tart flavour balances out sweeter fruits, such as strawberries.  There’s nothing like rhubarb crisp with a little vanilla ice cream. Look for bright, firm stalks of rhubarb without browning or soft spots. (Never eat or cook the leaves of the rhubarb plant as they’re poisonous.)