It’s spring! Those who live in virtual warm weather are likely to have less appreciation for this statement, but for many, spring is a signal to eat fresh. Asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, new peas, young onions and potatoes, tender greens are on the horizon.
Yes, we have the availability of these foods all year but the idea of locally (or at least regionally) grown is a foodie’s dream combining peak nutrition and flavor. Add the potential of being able to enjoy Vidalia onions and wild mushrooms including the elusive morel and your mouth should be watering.
Now here comes the stumbling block for many. How do you pick, store and serve these foods? For many customers, if food doesn’t come with easy directions, it won’t make it into the cart! Here are some thoughts for bringing spring into the repertoire of customers who seldom stray from the familiar:
• Provide easy directions for storing and preparing foods. Better yet, demonstrate the “how to” at the point of sale.
• Keep recipes and the number of ingredients simple. Asparagus in the microwave, steamed or stir-fried, greens added to a soup or salad, a spring vegetable pizza or soup.
• Suggest extra flavor with seasoning mixes, stocks and broth, fresh herbs and herb blends and display them close to the product and the recipe.
• Offer choices for those who are limiting their sodium, sugar or calories. Recipes can provide guidance for using alternative sweeteners, lower sodium stock/broth and seasonings, spray oils or lower fat spreads.
• Add flavor surprise with a splash of balsamic vinegar or vanilla (great on strawberries instead of sugar), sesame oil (for stir-fry asparagus), mixing rhubarb and strawberries, fresh mint in peas, or a dash of vinegar on sautéed greens and spring onions.
(photo courtesy of Clay Irving/Flickr)