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March 29-April 4, 2006

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5 Things to Love

Spring Crops

By Stett Holbrook

MARCH 20 was the first day of spring, but it sure didn't feel like it. The unseasonably cold and rainy weather continues. Meanwhile, all the late season winter weather has wreaked havoc on Northern California farms and slowed the production of spring crops. But signs of spring are starting to show up in local markets. Here are five tastes of spring to keep your eyes open for.

Asparagus The quintessential spring vegetable. You know winter is over when your pee starts to smell again.

Green Garlic Looking a bit like a big green onion, green garlic is garlic harvested young. It's got a mild, garlic flavor and is great sautéed in pastas, chopped raw for salads or as a pizza topping.

Leeks This hardy vegetable stands up to the rain better than most spring crops, so locally harvested leeks are widely available.

Peas Peas are sensitive to the cold so they may be scarce for a while, but fresh sugar snap and English peas are worth the wait.

Strawberries Nearby Watsonville is one of the country's main sources for strawberries. The season started strong in sunny February but slowed with March's wet weather.

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