What's in season: Beautiful bunches of thick- and thin-stemmed asparagus, a member of the lily family, are showing up at market stands. The popular vegetable can generally be found through the spring into early summer. Look for tender, thin stalks or more robust jumbo bunches, with colors ranging from a vibrant apple green to white — the asparagus is grown underground to prevent photosynthesis — and even purple.
What to cook: Peel away the woody outer skin of thick asparagus and snap off any tough ends. Dice or chop the spears to add to pasta or rice dishes, or roast or grill whole spears for a simple side dish. There's no need to peel thin asparagus. Blanch the delicate spears and toss with salads, or sauté with butter or olive oil and minced garlic or fresh herbs.
What's on the horizon: Those spring blossoms may be for more than just decoration. Edible flowers, such as delicate but peppery blossoming arugula and vibrant yellow broccoli rabe, work well in a variety of recipes, whether added at the last minute or used as a garnish. Check with the farmer to make sure the blossoms are indeed edible and grown for consumption, along with suggestions for using. New potatoes are also showing up.