5 Ways to Get the Most of Spring Produce in Toronto - The Chef Upstairs

5 Ways to Get the Most of Spring Produce in Toronto

Spring is a wonderful time in Toronto for fresh and locally sourced produce. The snow has melted, the ground has thawed, and the city’s farmers markets are bursting with an array of fresh and vibrant produce. With so many delicious options available, it can be challenging to know what to do with all of it. Don’t worry, with a few tips and tricks, you can make the most of spring produce in Toronto.

1. Visit your local farmers market

There’s no better way to get the most out of spring produce in Toronto than by visiting your local farmers market. Not only will you get the chance to try fruits and vegetables that you may not usually buy, but you’ll also be supporting local farmers. By shopping at farmers markets, you’re helping to promote sustainable and ethical farming practices.

Some of the most popular and well-known farmers markets in Toronto include the St. Lawrence Market, Dufferin Grove Farmers Market, and the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers Market. These markets offer a wide variety of fresh and local produce, along with other sustainable products like honey, preserves, and artisanal crafts.

2. Try new ways to prepare your vegetables

Spring vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, and peas can be prepared in many different ways, from roasting to grilling to steaming. Trying out new recipes and techniques can help you get the most out of your produce and ensure that you don't get bored with your meals.

For example, asparagus can be roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, or grilled on the BBQ for a smoky flavor. Artichokes can be boiled and served with a delicious garlic aioli, while peas can be sautéed with some fresh mint and served as a side dish.

3. Use fresh herbs

Spring is a great time to start using fresh herbs in your cooking. Not only do they add an extra layer of flavor to your dishes, but they’re also packed with nutrients. Basil, parsley, oregano, and thyme are just a few of the herbs that are in season during the spring months.

Adding fresh herbs to salads, sauces, and marinades can elevate your dishes and make the flavors pop. You can also create herb-infused oils and butters to use in your cooking.

4. Preserve what you can’t use right away

If you’ve purchased too much produce or you’re not able to use it all before it goes bad, consider preserving it. Freezing, canning, and pickling are all great ways to preserve fruits and vegetables and ensure that you can enjoy them well after the season has ended.

For example, you can freeze berries to use in smoothies or desserts, can tomatoes to use in sauces and soups, and pickle cucumbers to add a tangy crunch to your sandwiches.

5. Support local restaurants that use local produce

If cooking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of local restaurants in Toronto that use fresh, in-season produce in their dishes. By supporting these restaurants, you’re not only getting a delicious meal, but you’re also supporting local farmers and sustainable food practices.

Some of Toronto’s top farm-to-table restaurants include Farmhouse Tavern, Langdon Hall, and Actinolite. These restaurants offer locally sourced and seasonally inspired menus that showcase the best of Toronto’s spring produce.

To sum it up, getting the most out of spring produce in Toronto is all about exploring new recipes, shopping at local farmers markets, using fresh herbs, preserving what you can’t use right away, and supporting local restaurants. With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to make the most of the city’s vibrant and delicious spring bounty.

See our exclusive recipe here: Morel, Sweet Pea and Asparagus Risotto


By Chef Julian Pancer, The Chef Upstairs

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