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Spring is here. And that means the markets are going to pick up in a big way. Winter citrus disappears gradually, and springtime baby beets and asparagus give way to delicious summer stone fruits and berries. Cherries, peaches, pluots, strawberries, blueberries…. yum.

I shop at the Berkeley Farmers’ Markets and at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza market. The Berkeley markets have an awesome sea vegetable selection from a woman who harvests them up in Mendocino. Sea veggies like wakame, hijiki, and kelp are very high in trace minerals – great for adrenal health and stress management! The SF market is larger and has a better organic meat selection.

San Francisco Ferry Plaza farmers' market

San Francisco Ferry Plaza farmers’ market

Asparagus is cropping up now, perfect oven-roasted with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper. And I love the baby beets, slightly sweeter than their larger parents. Beets are in season now and are excellent for the liver and are good roasted, steamed, and even raw (see recipe below that will convert even the most hard core beet hater), and BONUS: the greens are equally healthful – don’t forget to saute those up with some garlic. It’s like getting 2 veggies in one! Try golden beets too. Roasted golden and red beets are excellent served over arugula with goat cheese.

I made the following recipe a couple years back at a Berkeley Farmers’ Market cooking and nutrition demo. It’s a raw salad and very magically delicious (hence the name “surprise”) when the flavors meld. Excellent spring salad, very liver-loving. Kids love it too. Enjoy!

Beet Salad Surprise
2 baby beets or 1 large red beet
1-2 carrots
1 apple, pink lady or fuji
1/4 c chopped walnuts (pecans or almond slivers are good variations)
2-3 Tbs. shredded coconut meat
1-2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/8 c raisins (optional)

Grate beet, carrots, and apple in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil. Sprinkle nuts and coconut; toss all ingredients together. Adjust to taste; garnish with a pinch of nuts and coconut on top before serving. Raisins make a great optional topping that kids love!
Makes four 1/2 cup servings.

Nutritional Info per 1/2 cup:
Calories: 106
Protein: 2.45 g
Carb: 10.4 g
Total Fat: 6.7 g
Monounsaturated fat: 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 3.1 g
Saturated Fat: 1.4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Fiber: 1.53
Vitamin A: 391 RE; 39% daily allowance
Vitamin E: 1.36mg; 13% daily allowance
Folate: 20mcg; 9% daily allowance
Magnesium: 28 mg; 8% daily allowance
Potassium: 197mg; 9% daily allowance
Iron: .57mg; 5% daily allowance

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