March marks the beginning of spring, and with it comes a bounty of delicious seasonal produce. As the weather warms up, a variety of fruits and vegetables come into season, offering a refreshing and nourishing addition to your meals. Eating seasonally is a great way to support local agriculture and enjoy the freshest and most delicious produce. This March Produce Guide will cover a range of fruits and vegetables that are in season.
This post is the 3rd in my Monthly Seasonal Produce Guides series.
For me, as a cook and a gardener, eating seasonally and eating local go hand in hand. The goal of eating seasonally is so that I can enjoy foods that are harvested as close to home as possible and that didn’t have to travel thousands of miles. This is why I am such a big proponent of homegrown food and edible gardening.
Much of the produce trucked from far away places is harvested early and forced to ripen before it hits your grocery store produce aisle. Another reason to seek out seasonal food? You’re supporting local farmers and that’s a good thing! So, what's in season in March?
Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to appear in the springtime. With its slender stalks and delicate flavor, asparagus is a versatile ingredient that can be grilled, roasted, or added to salads. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It is high in fiber and a good source of antioxidants, making it a nutritious choice. Though local availability will vary from region to region, March to May will be the typical season for folks living in the US North East, Midwest, Ontario, Quebec.
Note: Though asparagus is typically available at the grocery store all year round, it grown in South America (Peru is a large producer of Asparagus for the world market). It is flown thousands of miles. I personally choose to enjoy asparagus when it is in season in the spring. A good tip is to check the label.
Broccoli is a versatile and nutritious vegetable in the brassica family that is in season during the cooler months. It’s high in fiber and has a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium. It can be enjoyed raw, steamed, boiled, roasted, grilled, etc.
Love them or hate them, Brussels Sprouts are both delicious and nutritious when they are prepared right. Gone are the days of overboiled and mushy Brussels sprouts. I love to roast them, air-fry them or panfry them with butter. They can have a bitter taste, but it’s important to balance it out with other flavors.
Peas are another springtime crop that comes into season in March. Fresh peas have a sweet, crunchy texture and can be enjoyed raw or cooked in a variety of dishes. They are high in protein and a good source of fiber, making them a satisfying and healthy addition to your meals. Pea season does extend into other spring months like April, May and even June.
Included in my book is a recipe for Spring Pesto which features both peas and arugula.
Asian greens (bok choi, tatsoi and others) as well as mustards and arugula love the cool temperatures of spring. They are in season March, April and May. Stir-fried, steamed, added to salad. In fact, many baby Asian greens are added to salad mixes to add a peppery bite to otherwise bland lettuce.
Kale and collard greens are all in season during the winter months as they are considered cool-weather crops that thrive when the temperatures are low. These vegetables are high in fiber and contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Kale, in particular, is a nutritional powerhouse. Use it in salads, sauté it as a side dish, add it to smoothies or chop it into a creamy winter coleslaw.
Radishes are a crisp and slightly spicy root vegetable that can be enjoyed raw, cooked or even pickled. They are high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber. They are also incredibly easy to grow yourself in your home garden or even containers. They are one of the first crops to be harvested from my garden in the spring.
Rhubarb is a tart and slightly sweet stalk that is often used in desserts like pies, tarts and crumbles. It can also be used in savory dishes like chutneys and sauces. Rhubarb is high in vitamin K and contains antioxidants.
The rhubarb available in January, February and March is forced, meaning that it is grown in dark conditions and forced to produce stalks. These stalks will be lighter in color and slightly skinnier than your typical rhubarb stalks harvested from the field in the spring (April, May, June).
Spinach is another leafy green that comes into season in March. It is considered a cool weather crop and thrives in cooler temperatures. It hates the heat, so the season for field-grown spinach is quite short. It is versatile, nutritious and can be enjoyed in salads, smoothies, or cooked as a side dish.
Note: Greenhouse-grown spinach is available year-round, typically sold in bags or clamshell plastic containers at the grocery store. Local field spinach is only available for a short time, typically in March, April and May. Once the weather warms up, it is no longer available unless farmers take special measures to protect it from the summer heat.
Spring onions, also known as green onions or scallions, are a type of onion that comes into season in March. They are essentially an immature onion that is harvested early. They can be green or purple. They have a mild, sweet flavor and are usually eaten raw or lightly cooked. Spring onions are high in vitamin K and low in calories. They are a good source of fiber, making them a healthy choice. Add them to salads or use them as garnish. I love grilling and charring them and using them in salsa and sauces.
Artichokes are a delicious and unique vegetable that come into season in March. With their spiky leaves and tender hearts, artichokes can be steamed, grilled, or stuffed and baked. They are high in antioxidants and a good source of fiber, making them a healthy choice for your meals.
I included these in this guide because Artichokes are difficult to grow in the north. So, if you plan to enjoy them, you have to rely on producers in more temperate locations. Enjoy them when there are at their peak in March.
Note: There are varieties of artichokes that have been bred to grow in a short northern growing season. You might be able to find truly local artichokes in the fall. This is hit or miss through.
Oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and lemons are all at their peak during the winter months. I included them in the January and February Produce Guides, and they are still in season in March. These fruits are high in vitamin C and can help to boost the immune system during cold and flu season. Use them to add flavor to salads, marinades, and dressings, or enjoy them on their own as a snack. They can be used to make delicious tarts.
A note on citrus: I’m making an exception about citrus and including it in this list, despite the fact that it doesn’t grow in most parts of North America. The citrus we see in the northern states and Canada is transported north from Florida, California and other locations. Since we can’t grow citrus in the north, we have to depend on our southern farmer friends.
I created a handy graphic for you here. Go ahead and Pin it so you can refer to it again and again.
Seasonal food is very regionally specific. Something might be in season in California and not in season in New York. For example, strawberries are in season in California year-round. In New York, Ontario, and other parts of the North East, local strawberries will be in season in June and July.
The best way to know your food is in season? Shop at local farmers’ markets and ask questions. Look at the grocery store labels and tags.
The start of spring ushers in new and exciting produce like spring onions, artichokes, tender greens (Asian greens, arugula, mustard), radishes, spinach and of course asparagus.