In northern New England we are often spoiled with produce in the summer months: local strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries for breakfast, fresh tomatoes and corn to grill, a wide variety of greens for salads. But what about in the shoulder seasons, when the ground is still frozen and we’re wearing mittens to the farm stand?

It can be tempting to go to the grocery store and buy those berries and greens that have been shipped up from Peru, Mexico, and other Southern climates. But keep in mind the overall cost – the mass-market growing practices used, the fossil fuels required to fly, truck, or boat the packages up here, the preservatives to keep them fresh as they travel. April is Earth Month, a good time to try out healthy new recipes that will help get you into the habit of eating local all year-round. Maine Federation of Farmer’s Markets has a handy “What’s In Season?” tool. Using this, we visited a few solar-powered farm stands and farmer’s markets, got some produce, and found new recipes to use them! Below are links to some of our favorites – let us know what you think and send us your own!

And to further your Earth Day food celebrations – our friends at the┬áSustainability Alliance are hosting Planted for the Planet, a 4-day community collaboration to bring awareness to local, plant-based recipes and chefs. Tune in!

Breakfast


photo: Naturally Ella

 

Root Vegetable Hash Egg Skillet

This delicious hash takes eggs and potatoes to the next, seasonally-favorable level. This cozy breakfast medley calls for a mix of seasonal root vegetables, like potatoes, turnips, carrots, garlic, and warming herbs. Add some eggs and your choice of cheese, and enjoy this hearty breakfast hash with the whole family.

Total prep and cook time is 30 minutes.

Full recipe here.

 

 

 

 

photo: Ambitious Kitchen

 

Spinach & Goat Cheese Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

What’s better than quiche? Not much, except for a scrumptious grain-free quiche made with sweet potatoes that even your gluten-free friends can enjoy! This easy to make dish is light and full of spring flavor. You can make it any time of the year, but with fresh spinach and tangy feta cheese, this quiche is the perfect breakfast (or lunch or dinner) for the transition into springtime.

Total prep and cook time is 1 hour 15 minutes.

Full recipe here.

 

 

Salad


photo: Minimalist Baker

 

 

Roasted Squash Salad with Crispy Shallot & Balsamic Reduction

This seasonal, not-boring salad combines a mix of bright flavors, such as caramelized roasted winter squash, crunchy pepitas, sweet currants, and fresh arugula. This specific recipe uses nut cheese, so it’s vegan as well as delicious. Of course, you can use any cheese you’d like – that’s the simple beauty of a springtime salad.

Total prep and cook time is 30 minutes.

Full recipe here.

 

 

 

 

Dinner


Photo: FoodieCrush

 

 

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Pizza

Flatbread. Pizza. Unfolded calzone. Whatever you call it, there’s no denying that this easy and flavorful meal is the perfect springtime dinner. Piled high with mounds of sweet potato and caramelized onion, it bursts with seasonal flavor and is a great meatless option for family pizza night. Using ricotta instead of tomato sauce and finished off with fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil, this dish will be a crowd-pleaser all spring long.

Total prep and cook time is 1 hour 25 minutes.

Full recipe here.

 

 

 

Photo by Marcus Nilsson, Prop Styling by Amy Wilson, Food Styling by Frances Boswell

 

Creamy Pasta with Crispy Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a divisive food. Some people love them, some people hate them. To the latter group, we recommend this recipe, which will convert even the staunchest of mushroom haters into fungi fans. Creamy, rich, and full of flavor, this pasta is an easy mid-week meal to make for your family or friends.

Full recipe here.

 

 

 

 

Dessert


photo: Taste of Home

 

Maple Carrot Cupcakes

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about dessert! Sweet and nutty, these cupcakes are like a warm hug on a brisk spring day. We recommend tracking down some local maple syrup (here in Maine, tapping and boiling season is in full swing). Fresh carrots and a generous handful of walnuts make these an acceptable breakfast option as well.

Total prep and cook time is 35 minutes.

Full recipe here.