It’s that time again in the spring where we see all the big tractors putting seed into the ground. It is also the time to start gardening! Maybe you don’t have a green thumb, like myself, we will stick to purchasing our produce at our favorite spot! No one can deny that fresh always taste better. It could be a salad on a summer night, a picnic thrown together for an afternoon, or even grilling vegetable! With spring well on its way, we will begin seeing those fresh fruit and veggies everywhere. Since everything has its season, I will have to wait for those delicious berries until June or July but some things will by ready in early June or even May!

kale and tomato seedlings

I visited a local family produce stand and farm in the middle of March, and they had already begun planting all their seed in the basement of their home! I would have never thought to start plants inside under lights, but that is why they have a business in produce and I do not. It’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. They had multiple trays under lights just waiting for the sun to shine, to be put into the grown for the summer. While trays of tomatoes were in the house, they had a small green house outside that they had actual leafy plants of kale, lettuce, and cabbage.

cabbage and lettuce seedlings

Asparagus was beginning to grow along with rhubarb. Now when the owner said rhubarb, I honestly had no idea what it was at first. The only thing that came to mind was rhubarb pie, but that didn’t help either. After a little research on the handy dandy Internet, I found that it is mainly used in desserts or jams as a fruit. Also there are two parts to rhubarb, stalk and leaves. Only eat the stalks! Asparagus is great on the grill on a summer night, and honestly about the only time I enjoy eating it. All you really need is to lightly coat the asparagus in olive oil with a pinch of sea salt to top them off, then grill for around seven minutes. Delicious as always!


If you ever have time to stop at a local produce stand, or even a farmers market, I would do it! If you have questions, they are always willing to answer them and take the time! This family took me around for 45 minutes showing me everything they had done! They enjoy what they do and what to show it off to you! Different times of the year brings wonderful flavors, try something new this summer! Remember fresh always taste better!

Parkes Family Produce

jenna sudethJenna Sudeth
University of Illinois

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