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Savouring spring: a guide to seasonal eating in Ontario

Here are the seasonal produce superstars of spring to load up on, plus ways to shop, store, and prepare them.

Spring in Ontario brings a burst of vibrant blooms and the reopening of farmers' markets and celebrates the arrival of fresh, seasonal produce.

From the peppery bite of seasonal arugula to the tart sweetness of rhubarb, these springtime delights will bring fresh excitement to your plate and deliver serious health-improving nutrients all at once.

Here are the seasonal produce superstars of spring to load up on, plus ways to shop, store, and prepare them.



Arugula is a cool-season crop that thrives from winter to spring and is typically available from early spring through early summer. It’s peppery and slightly bitter but has a pleasant, delicate, crisp texture. Arugula is a nutrient powerhouse, a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate, calcium, and antioxidants.

Shop & Store: Choose arugula with vibrant green leaves and avoid wilted bunches. Store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and use it within a few days.

Creative Preparation Ideas:

  1. Arugula Pesto Pasta: Blend arugula with garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil to create a pesto sauce. Toss with cooked pasta for a quick and flavour-packed meal.
  2. Arugula and Mushroom Flatbread: Top a flatbread with sautéed mushrooms, arugula, mozzarella cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a delicious appetizer or light meal.



Asparagus is the quintessential spring vegetable, typically available late April through June in Ontario. Depending on your cooking technique, it is generally mild and slightly sweet in flavour and has a crisp yet tender texture. Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as folate, fibre, and antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols.

Shop & Store: Choose firm, bright green asparagus spears with closed tips. Store them upright in a glass of water in the refrigerator, or wrap them in damp paper towels and place them in a plastic bag.

Creative Preparation Ideas:

  1. Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto: Stir blanched asparagus and sautéed mushrooms into creamy risotto for a hearty and flavourful dish.
  2. Asparagus and Prosciutto Bundles: For a fun and tasty appetizer, wrap asparagus spears with prosciutto slices and bake until crispy.



Cucumbers are a summer vegetable but typically become available in late spring in Ontario. They are refreshing with a delightfully crunchy texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavour that plays well with so many other foods. Cukes are ultra-low in calories and rich in water content, making them a hydrating food. Another nutritious produce to eat often, they provide vitamins K and C, potassium, and antioxidants.

Shop & Store: Choose firm cucumbers without blemishes or soft spots. Store them in the refrigerator, preferably wrapped in a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

Creative Preparation Ideas:

  1. Cucumber and Avocado Salad: For a refreshing salad, combine diced cucumbers, avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and a lemon vinaigrette.
  2. Cucumber Mint Cooler: Blend cucumbers with fresh mint, lime juice, honey, and ice for a satisfying and refreshing drink.


Dandelion Greens

Take a walk on the adventurous side and add some slightly bitter and earthy dandelion greens to your meals this spring. Dandelion greens are wild greens that can be foraged or found in specialty stores in spring, usually from April to early summer. Great in salads, smoothies, and pesto, they are incredibly detoxifying thanks to a high amount of antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, and iron.

Shop & Store: If foraging, harvest young dandelion greens. Otherwise, look for fresh bunches in stores. Store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and use them within a few days.

Creative Preparation Ideas:

  1. Dandelion Green Salad: Toss chopped dandelion greens with oranges, walnuts, goat cheese, and a citrus vinaigrette for a fresh and unique salad.
  2. Dandelion Green Pesto: Blend dandelion greens with garlic, almonds, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil for a unique twist on pesto.



Lettuce is another cool-season crop that thrives in the early spring months and lasts through summer here in Ontario. Lettuce varieties offer a range of flavours, from mild and sweet to slightly bitter, and textures, from tender to crisp. When it comes to lettuce in Ontario, the world is your oyster! Different types of lettuce provide varying amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, folate, fibre, and antioxidants.

Shop & Store: Choose lettuce with crisp leaves and vibrant colours. Store it in the refrigerator, preferably in a perforated plastic bag or wrapped in paper towels to maintain freshness.

Creative Preparation Ideas:

  1. Classic Caesar Salad: Toss romaine lettuce with Caesar dressing, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and a generous squeeze of lemon for a satisfying salad.
  2. Lettuce Wraps: Use large lettuce leaves as wraps to fill with ingredients like grilled chicken, tuna, egg salad, or taco mixture.



Mushrooms are available year-round due to indoor cultivation but are more abundant in spring and fall. Some farmers’ markets will have stands dedicated to countless mushroom varieties in spring and early summer, including morels, chanterelles, and black trumpets. Mushrooms offer a savoury, umami-rich flavour and a meaty yet tender texture, making them a great choice for vegetarians and meat eaters. They are a low-calorie food rich in vitamins D and B, minerals like selenium and potassium, and antioxidants.

Shop & Store: Choose firm mushrooms with dry caps and no signs of moisture or decay. Store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator and use them within a few days.

Creative Preparation Ideas:

  1. Stuffed Mushrooms: Fill mushroom caps with a mixture of breadcrumbs, herbs, cheese, and garlic, then bake until golden and bubbly.
  2. Mushroom Risotto: Stir sautéed mushrooms into creamy risotto with Parmesan cheese for a hearty and comforting dish.



Very few fruits come into season in early spring in Ontario, leaving rhubarb to be the star of the show! Rhubarb is a spring vegetable available from late April to June and has a unique tart flavour with a hint of sweetness. Its texture ranges from crunchy when raw to soft and tender when cooked, making it ideal for stuffing into baked goods. It’s a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins C and K, potassium, and antioxidants such as polyphenols.

Shop & Store: Look for firm, crisp rhubarb stalks in vibrant red or pink. Avoid soft stalks. Trim the leaves (which are toxic, by the way!) and store the stalks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Creative Preparation Ideas:

  1. Rhubarb Crisp: Combine chopped rhubarb with sugar, cinnamon, and a crumbly topping made of oats, flour, butter, and brown sugar. Bake until golden and bubbling for a delicious dessert.
  2. Rhubarb-Ginger Jam: Cook rhubarb with fresh ginger, sugar, and lemon juice until thickened to create a tangy and flavourful jam for toast or pastries.

About the Author


Alicia is a journalist and editor in digital and print media specializing in health, nutrition, fitness, and wellness. She was previously the Editorial Director of Clean Eating and Vegetarian Times. Her work has also appeared in Hone Health The Edge, Yoga Journal, Women’s Running, and Oxygen, among others. In addition to being a content creator, she's an ISSA-certified nutritionist, certified personal trainer, and fitness studio owner in Toronto. Alicia loves spreading the word about helpful, science-backed health information, and she can be contacted via her website at