Spring is here—at last! And that means planting a garden, checking the schedule for your local farmers’ market and driving by the neighborhood strawberry stand to see if it’s open for business yet.
By Thea Marie Rood
Photography by Nash Rood
It’s finally time to head to the nursery for seeds and bedding plants. It’s also time to pull out recipes that use delicious spring produce like cherries or raspberries, peas or asparagus. And don’t leave the kids out of the mix—they will happily help you top off a raised planting bed with organic soil and their tiny fingers are perfect for pushing in equally small seeds or gently tucking in a bedding plant. It’s also a perfect family activity to scour the farmers’ markets that are beginning to open up for the season: Have the kids choose the fruits and veggies—which they will be more inclined to eat on their plates at home— and they’ll get practice making conversation or counting out change too.
Watch Your Garden Grow
The Sierra Nevada encompasses several planting zones, so your best bet is to check in with local nurseries or even take a gardening class (see our Calendar of Events for the “High Elevation Gardening Series” at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, for example). But in general, here’s what you can plant now so you can eat well this summer and fall: beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons (including watermelon), peppers, pumpkins, radishes, squash and tomatoes. And don’t forget about herbs—in most zones, they can be planted year-round and also make a fun kitchen garden: basil, chives, cilantro, marjoram, oregano, peppermint, rosemary and thyme.
Many area markets are open now— or soon will be—for your springtime meals and entertaining.
PlacerGROWN Farmers’ Market, Auburn—Old Town Courthouse Parking Lot, Auburn, CA (Auburn-Folsom Road at Lincoln Way), Saturdays 8 a.m.–noon, open year-round.
Nevada City Farmers’ Market—Robinson Plaza on Union Street in Downtown Nevada City, CA, first Saturday of each month 9 a.m.–noon, now through May 5 (the summer market begins June 2).
Nevada County Certified Growers’ Markets—Historic North Star House, 12074 Auburn Road, Grass Valley, CA, Saturdays 8 a.m.–12:30 p.m., starting April 14; the Nevada County Horsemen facility, 10600 Bubbling Well Road, Grass Valley, CA, Tuesdays 9–11 a.m., starting May 1; and Western Gateway Park, 18560 Penn Valley Drive, Penn Valley, CA, Thursdays 9 a.m.–1 p.m., starting May 3.
Placerville Certified Farmers’ Market—Ivy House Parking Lot, corner of Main Street and Cedar Ravine Road in Historic Downtown Placerville, CA, Saturdays 8 a.m.–noon, starting May 5.
PlacerGROWN Farmers’ Market, Tahoe—Commons Beach in Tahoe City, CA (Commons Beach Road and North Lake Boulevard), Thursdays 8 a.m.–1 p.m., starting May 18.
Sonora Farmers’ Market—Downtown Sonora, CA, Saturdays 7:30–11:30 a.m., starting May 19.
Produce – APRIL/MAY
Parsnips (through April)