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Market Watch: 5 Farmers Market Must-Haves in March

March is always a month of big seasonal changes at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. As the last remnants of winter wind down, the first signs of spring are beginning to pop up. Right now some of these vernal favorites are already available, and by the end of the month we’ll see the return of fresh goat’s and cow’s milk cheeses, herbs and tonic greens like sorrel, nettles and dandelions. Here’s my list of the five not-to-miss items for the month of March.

Plant starts: It’s time for Bay Area gardeners to start prepping their spring gardens. Whether you have an acre or a window box, farmer Dan Lehrer at Flatland Flower Farm is the man to see for locally and organically grown starts, plus tips and suggestions about what will work for your space. Right now you’ll find Dan’s Saturday stand filled with veggie and herb starts, and his wildly popular tomato starts are just starting to appear.

Asparagus: Without a doubt, one of my favorite signs of spring is the first asparagus of the season. Whether roasted, sautéed or shaved and dressed in a citrusy vinaigrette, asparagus is one vegetable I can’t seem to ever get enough of when in season. Get yours now at all three weekly markets from Zuckerman Farms and, later in the season, from Dirty Girl Produce and Capay Organic.

Horseradish: Grated over roasted veggies, tossed in a salad dressing or added to mashed potatoes, fresh horseradish root adds a nice kick of heat and spice. You’ll find it at Knoll Farms this month.

Spring Blossoms: Right now the market is full of beautiful, delicate spring flowers, like tulips, daffodils, ranunculi, and anemones. Pick up colorful spring blossom bouquets at Thomas Farms, McGinnis Ranch, Cypress Flower Farm or Four Sisters Farms. Later in the month, look for lilacs at Peach Farm, Capay Organic and Devoto Gardens.

Pastured eggs: Longer days mean happy hens are laying more and more eggs each week, after slower production during the winter months. The pastured eggs you’ll find at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market are laid by humanely raised chickens, and they are chock full of heart-healthy omega-3’s and have a denser, richer flavor than conventionally farmed eggs you find at most grocery stores.

We love pasture-raised eggs so much we’ll be focusing on them for this month’s Egg Celebration. Join us on Saturday, March 9, from 10 am to 1 pm at the CUESA Classroom to hear from egg farmers David Evans of Marin Sun Farms, Nigel Walker of Eatwell Farms and Charlie Sowell of Rolling Oaks Ranch about how they keep their hens happy and what it means to for chickens to be truly pasture-raised. We’ll also have cooking demos from Jeff Banker of Baker and Banker and Robin Song of Hog & Rocks, as well as kid-friendly activities like natural egg dyeing and mayonnaise making. All Egg Celebration activities are free and open to the public.