A feast for the eyes, and the table too

With its lilies and iris, asparagus and chevre, May is high time for Puget Sound's spring bounty.
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Tulips at a farmers market in West Seattle

With its lilies and iris, asparagus and chevre, May is high time for Puget Sound's spring bounty.

The tulips, and now the spring lilies and iris, are at full strength and color. The peonies, the petticoats of the season, should be available by week's end. They are all long legged and very strong but you must understand they will leave by the end of the month.

The morel mushroom has just come to market. Slice the larger ones, but add some of the very small morels and leave them to saute whole, with spring red or walla walla young onions.

It is the very best time for both arugula and spinach. By June, the sun will thicken or bolt both of them. The young arugula is, in particular, good with the new asparagus from Eastern Washington. There will be asparagus now for months, but none will have the quality of asparagus in May.

The fresh chevre, or goat cheese, is also at its best in April and May, when the goats are lactating. As Claudio at DeLaurenti would say, "But what do you think spring is for?"

If the air stays warm, Washington strawberries will begin in early June. There are many varieties, and some last all summer. But the very best are dark red, almost purple. They will deeply stain your hands and they are very fragile, so they must be washed carefully and quickly. Many farms have moved on to varieties with more athletic shelf life, but the Market will still have the true local strawberries. At their best they are only here for two weeks. Typically, a rogue cold rain cuts off their performance.

Pike Place Market, or the wonderful local markets in Queen Anne, Ballard, University, Columbia City and such, will all have stock.


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Peter Miller

Peter Miller is owner of Peter Miller Books, a store in Seattle specializing in architecture and design books. You can reach him in care of editor@crosscut.com.