Must-Haves for Spring

Bell’s Oberon: The summer seasonal from this Kalamazoo, MI brewery is a light wheat ale that’s a perfect sweet-and-spicy warm weather brew. Leinenkugels’ makes a Summer Shandy, but I’m partial to the homemade version, of equal parts light beer and lemonade (steeping fresh ginger in the water used for the lemonade makes it even better).

Sea Salt: The casual Minnehaha Falls Park eatery is open for the season and it’s the best place for seafood in town. The new crawfish po-boy is a real sandwich eater’s sandwich--I was so distracted by its deliciousness that I nearly ate the whole thing before remembering to take a picture.

Morels: Some like to forage for these musky mushrooms, but they also recently arrived on the shelves at the Wedge, if you’re inclined to cook them yourself (they’re great in soups, on steaks, or just sauteed in butter), and they’ll be on the Bayport Cookery’ s morel menu in May, if you’d rather have someone else cook them for you. Or hit up the annual Morel Mushroom Festival, May 16-17, in Muscoda, Wisconsin.

A CSA Share: If you love local food, buying a community supported agriculture share is like getting a birthday present once a week. Local farms deliver boxes full of whatever’s ripe--corn, carrots, peas, garlic, potatoes, onions, melons, salad greens, etc. CSAs vary in price, delivery locations, farming practices, and offerings (some include meat, coffee, cheese, etc.)--and a few have a work requirement. For more information, the Land Stewardship Project has a fairly comprehensive directory. *Note that joining a CSA is a commitment: When the box arrives, you’ve got to prep the produce (cook it, can it, etc.)--before it rots away in the bottom of the fridge--and you need to embrace veggies like kale and kohlrabi. If you’re a small household of busy people who will be out of town a lot, think about splitting a share or just shopping at the farmers market.