April - June
Asparagus, like watercress, is a true herald of spring. When purchased in season, these green, purple and even white spears are deliciously affordable. Out of season, and the price shoots up since they’ll have been shipped from further south. As a perennial, asparagus should only be harvested for 3 or 4 weeks, and then the spears should be allowed to grow freely to build up their roots for the next season. Conventional asparagus is most likely sprayed with pesticides and fungicides, so opt for organic, which will often be the Jersey Knight variety that is more disease resistant.
Nutrition: Green asparagus is an extremely good source of folic acid—1/2 cup equals 1/3 the recommended daily amount. All asparagus colors also contain trace minerals such as zing, manganese, iron and calcium, though the white variety is not as packed.