Freshen up weeknight meals with peak-of-season produce

Strawberries, artichokes, and green garlic are at their peak of season now in California – that means maximum flavor and the best prices of the year.

Strawberries: purchase firm red berries with no soft or mushy spots. Store in the refrigerator, but keep them dry. Don’t wash until ready to eat and, if possible, serve at room temperature for greater fragrance and flavor. Strawberries are wonderful on their own, obviously, and easy to incorporate into recipes:
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Strawberry Salsa
Strawberry Melon Gazpacho

Artichokes: Native to the Mediterranean, artichokes are most commonly grown in Italy, France and Spain. In the U.S., California produces close to 100 percent of our artichokes. These earthy, interactive delights can be steamed, baked, braised or stuffed; and canned, they’re a great addition to salads. If cooking them fresh, don’t forget to scrape out the fuzzy top of the heart with a spoon or melon baller; it’s inedible and must be discarded. Try these recipes to get started:
Steamed Artichokes with Creamy Walnut Dip
Baked Artichokes Stuffed with Red Quinoa
Chicken and Artichokes with Farro

Green Garlic: The green shoot that grows from a garlic bulb in the springtime offers a milder flavor than the garlic bulb itself, and can be used raw or cooked.  It’s best used anywhere you’d use a green onion or scallion – for example, in a green salad, veggie stir fry or in an omelette. Also like scallions, you can use the whole thing – no waste. Whole Foods Market invites customers to change up their favorite scallion recipes with green garlic this spring. These recipes are a great place to begin:
Crispy Mashed Potato and Scallion Cakes
Crab and Tomato Quiche with Green Onions
Shrimp Cocktail with Spicy Green Onion Dipping Sauce

New and featured products in NorCal/Reno stores:

Lakewood Juices Organic, Cold-Pressed Juice
An independent, family (now being run by the 4th generation!) juice company, Lakewood offers a diverse line of organic and premium fruit juice products made under guidelines of integrity and respect for the environment. These juices are a good source of antioxidants, phytochemical nutrients, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. No additives or artificial ingredients.*  Biodynamic Pure Cranberry: $11.99/32 oz. – exclusively available at Whole Foods Market. Certified Organic and Biodynamic by Demeter USA. Kosher. Organic Super Kale – certified Organic, kosher.

Steve’s Ice Creams – new non-dairy flavors.
“Small batch since way back,” Steve’s is a Brooklyn favorite making its way to Northern California. The brand brings a new dynamic of flavor in the non-dairy ice cream category; these varieties are made with coconut milk. $6.49/16 oz. Flavors: Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel, Burnt Sugar Vanilla, Wildflower Honey Pistachio, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

Almanac Beer Company Farmers Reserve Strawberry Ale A celebration of the summer harvest, this limited edition, 7% ABV blond sour ale is loaded with coastal seascape strawberries grown at Dirty Girl Farms in the Santa Cruz mountains. It’s aged in oak casks with the house sour culture, then racked into wine barrels where it acquires a pink tone and “lip-smacking tartness.” Pair it with charcuterie spreads, creamy cheeses and summer salads.* $9.99/375 mL

365 Everyday Value® Pollinator Friendly Almond Butter Whole Foods Market’s exclusive brands team worked with producers dedicated to pollinator preservation to produce a special batch of pollinator-friendly almond butter. The company will donate $.50 to the Xerces Society for each jar of 365 Pollinator Friendly Almond Butter sold between April 16 and 28 (up to $5,000).