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March 18, 2024

What Foods are in Season during Spring? with Carolina Sodano, MPH, RDN, CSP, LDN, CNSC

by Carolina Sodano, MPH, RDN, CSP, LDN, CNSC

Birds chirping, flowers blooming, longer days, warmer temperatures, and a sense of rejuvenation are in the air. Springtime brings a new season of local produce ready to be enjoyed by adventurous palates. Eating seasonally can help save money and foods taste better because they’ve been harvested at their peak of freshness and flavor. Seasonal produce is also higher in nutrients (think vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants). Shopping at a farmer’s market can be a great way to get some extra steps and strengthen the local economy.

Seasonal Vegetables


In season from March thru April, these elegant and quick-cooking vegetables are packed with folate and antioxidants. A four-spear serving provides 22% of daily value of folate for non-pregnant adults.  They’re tasty roasted with some olive oil and garlic, added to a stir-fry, or in salads. Looking for serving suggestions? Check out the “Bright Spring Salad” and “Parmesan Roasted Salmon” from the Avance Care Registered Dietitian Cookbook.


Sweet and colorful, beets provide nutrients that can help regulate blood pressure. One of these is potassium, which can help relax the walls of blood vessels and is associated with a decrease in blood pressure. Another one is nitrates, which the body can convert to nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide can also help blood vessels relax, which could help decrease blood pressure. Some studies have found a link between eating beets and having a lower risk of developing high blood pressure. They’re in season from May thru June. Roasted or pickled beets can add zing to a variety of dishes!


Broccoli is a type of cabbage that has been cultivated for its large flowering head. They’re packed with vitamin C—a one cup serving provides 135% of the daily value. Broccoli, like other cruciferous vegetables, is also a good source of sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting phytochemical. Growing evidence suggests that sulforaphane may help prevent prostate, breast, and colon cancer, among others. Broccoli can be a quick addition to casseroles—just add frozen broccoli to the boiling water before noodles or rice are done cooking. If you like crunchier textures or caramelized flavors, roasted broccoli can make for a great side dish. Drizzle broccoli with sesame oil or sprinkle with parmesan cheese for a boost of flavor.


Green cabbage is in season from May thru mid-December, but there are more seasonal varieties. Napa cabbage and bok choy are in season from May thru June. Cabbage is rich in potassium, which can help decrease blood pressure, and vitamin C. It’s also a good source of fiber, a type of carbohydrate that can increase satiety, promote regular bowel movements, and diminish the risk of developing colon cancer. Enjoy the crunchy texture of cabbage in salads or slaws (like the “Apple Cranberry Almond Slaw” from our cookbook or this “Unstuffed Eggroll” recipe) or try sautéing it for a richer and caramelized flavor.


Mushrooms can make for deeply savory side dishes, and their meaty texture is a perfect ingredient in plant-forward recipes. The carbohydrates in mushrooms are not easily digested by stomach acid and can reach the colon to support the growth of healthy bacteria. Mushrooms are a source of ergothioneine, an amino acid being studied for its potent anti-inflammatory activity that could be associated with reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Unlike meats and vegetables, mushrooms are hard to overcook, but their spongy texture easily absorbs cooking oil. For best results, first cook mushrooms in a small amount of water until reduced in size; once all the water has evaporated and mushrooms are tender, add a drizzle of oil to brown them. Mushroom season runs from March thru June.


In North Carolina, you can find radishes in season from April thru June. When served raw, radishes add a punch of heat. Roasted or pickled, however, they turn mild and sweet. Radishes provide vitamin C and, like other cruciferous vegetables, are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins and sulforaphane. Try this refreshing Arugula and Three-Pea Salad or these roasted radishes.


If you’re looking for a versatile vegetable, look no further than turnips during their April thru June season. The roots have a nutty flavor that shines when roasted or mashed. The leafy greens are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and vitamin K. In addition to being simmered like collard greens, turnip greens can also be enjoyed in soups, pesto, and frittatas. If you’re looking for a comforting and flavorful recipe, check out this Spring Turnip Soup with Garlic Chickpea Croutons.

Seasonal Fruits


Blueberries are touted for their antioxidant content (anthocyanins are the antioxidants responsible for the vivid blue-purple color of this fruit), but did you know they’re good sources of manganese? This trace element works with many enzymes in reactions that involve protein and carbohydrate metabolism, antioxidant activity, bone formation, and immune response. They’re a great addition to yogurt parfaits, smoothies, or even salads. Enjoy them seasonally from mid-June thru July.


Another vitamin C powerhouse (160% of the daily value in a one-cup serving), strawberries are in season from mid-April thru mid-June. Strawberries have one of the lowest sugar content of fruits, making them a great choice for individuals working on reducing their carbohydrate intake. They’re also good sources of fiber, which can help promote healthy cholesterol levels. Frozen strawberries can be easily added to smoothies, and no-sugar added freeze dried strawberries pair well with cereal and granola. Fresh strawberries shine on their own and can add a pop of color and sweetness to a variety of salads.

To learn more of the ins and outs of delicious foods in season, what foods might best help you reach your health goals, or for extra support managing a chronic condition, be sure to learn more about Avance Care Nutrition Services! Our registered dietitians are accepting new patients, and can see you in person or virtually.


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