Spring Farmers Market Salad

by Dorothy Reinhold on March 16, 2016

Print This Post Print This Post A melange of farmers market finds -- strawberries, sugar snap peas, radish sprouts, cherry tomatoes, avocado -- makes a wonderful Spring Farmers Market Salad. The truffled dressing is divine. Add cooked steak if you like. | ShockinglyDelicious.com #CAonMyPlate #CultivateCA

One of the joys of living in California is access to the abundance of the state — incredible troves of fresh produce, nuts, dairy and meat, all grown here and widely available at farmers markets and our local grocery stores.

On Saturday I took a stroll through the Virginia Avenue Santa Monica Farmers Market to celebrate a gorgeous day, and find inspiration for lunch. While there, I was reminded at stall after stall of our state’s ample bounty.

I felt profound gratitude to the farmers who brought their wares to the market and tirelessly explained what to do with their tatsoi and tangerines, and those who were still toiling in the fields as I was literally contemplating the fruits of their labor.

Delicious Spring Farmers Market Salad on ShockinglyDelicious.comAbove is a sneak peek at the salad we’ll be making, but first stroll along the market with me as we chat today about how important locally grown foods are to a healthy, delicious lifestyle…

Fresh chard stems at the farmers market on ShockinglyDelicious.com…and how California farmers and ranchers play a critical role in growing the nutritious, delicious, healthy, safe and affordable foods that feed families across our state and throughout the U.S.

Fresh berries at the farmers market on ShockinglyDelicious.comI’ll bet you didn’t know that California grows nearly half of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the U.S. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. HALF.

We account for more than half of the harvested fruit acreage in the country.

Our Salinas Valley on the central coast is one of the most productive agricultural regions on the planet, which earned it the label “The Salad Bowl of the World.”

Fresh oranges at the farmers market on ShockinglyDelicious.comWe’re the land of oranges and citrus, with our Tulare County leading the state in growing more than half of them. In fact, oranges are #7 in commodities in our state — the top three are milk, grapes and almonds).

California produces 90% of fresh avocados consumed in the U.S. (frozen and processed avocados are imported regularly from other countries).

California is the nation’s top nut producer. For example, California grows 100% of the U.S. supply of almonds.

We grow 98% of the country’s fresh figs in our Fresno, Madera and Merced counties, and 20% of the world’s dried figs.

California is the country’s No. 1 milk producer and the leading producer of butter and ice cream.

Fresh Strawberries at the farmers market on ShockinglyDelicious.comWe grow 80% of America’s strawberries, and that percentage is growing. Our coastal fields with mild days and cool nights are stunningly productive, yielding 10 times more fruit per acre than strawberry farms in Michigan, 20 times more than in the state of New York.

Fresh carrots at the farmers market on ShockinglyDelicious.comYou want broccoli? We produce more than 90%. Artichokes clock in at 99%, kiwi fruit and plums at 97%, celery and garlic at 95%, cauliflower at 89%, spinach at 71% and carrots at 69%.

I could go on, or you could take a glance at this quick chart from the Calif. Agricultural Resource Directory:

California leads the world in agricultural production

With all of that plenty in mind, I stuffed my bag full of fresh produce, and set off for home to create a Spring Farmers Market Salad. I took inspiration from…

Fresh lettuce mixes on ShockinglyDelicious.com…boxes of fresh salad greens…

A tangle of fresh carrots at the farmers market on ShockinglyDelicious.com…tables piled high with a tangle of multicolored carrots…

Sugar snap peas and strawberries at the farmers market on ShockinglyDelicious.com…and an innovative pairing of strawberries and sugar snap peas from J.R. Organics farm in North County San Diego.

Buying sugar snap peas and strawberries at the farmers market on ShockinglyDelicious.comBingo, that was my inspiration and I had my salad!

Spring Farmers Market Salad on ShockinglyDelicious.com

Spring Farmers Market Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 2

Fresh and fabulous, this melange of farmers market finds makes a wonderful lunch or dinner. The truffled dressing is divine.


  • Salad
  • 4 big handfuls salad greens mix (I like to mix different varieties)
  • 15-20 sugar snap peas, stem and string removed and cut into thirds
  • 12 fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 2 portions leftover cooked steak, cut into bite-site pieces (omit if vegetarian)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Radish sprouts
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, halved and sliced thinly
  • .
  • Dressing
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon truffle oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (yes!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon agave syrup


  1. Assemble salad: Arrange greens/lettuce in 2 wide, shallow bowls. Top with sugar snap peas, strawberries and steak pieces (if using). Sprinkle with cherry tomatoes and radish sprouts. Fan out the avocado slices at the side of the plate.
  2. Make dressing: Add oil, vinegar, truffle oil, vanilla extract and agave to a small jar. Shake vigorously for a minute. Drizzle dressing over each salad.
  3. Serves 2


Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious

Vegetarian/vegan option: Omit steak.


What about the drought?

California’s glorious year-round-growing climate gets big credit for our productivity. No other state, or even a combination of states, can match California’s output per acre. However, you may have heard that we have a historic drought, going on 4 years now.

All Californians have had to drastically reduce the amount of water we use in our daily lives, and California farmers and ranchers have been forced to cut back as well. But armed with smart thinking, innovative technologies and generations of wisdom, the farm community is doing everything it can to make sure your plate has all the fresh food you want and need. For example, during the past 30 years, almond growers have improved water use efficiency by 33 percent.

Fresh shaggy onion roots at the farmers market on ShockinglyDelicious.comOur farmers and ranchers are exquisitely aware of the need to make the most of our natural resources and are committed to using water efficiently and responsibly. Another example: The “water-footprint” of a glass of milk is 65% smaller today than it was 70 years ago.

Ag drives the California economy

When outsiders think about California businesses, they might first think of Hollywood and then perhaps Silicon Valley since our entertainment and technology industries are second to none. Put agriculture right up there though, because California farming is one of the largest employers in the state. California farming and ranching generates more than $100 billion in annual economic activity for the state, so not only are our farmers feeding the nation, they are driving the state and U.S. economy.

Fresh Spring Farmers Market Salad on ShockinglyDelicious.comToday one California farmer feeds 155 people, compared to just 19 people in 1940. Put “California farmers” on your gratitude list.

In decades past, people made fun of California and its free-spirited inhabitants as “the land of fruit and nuts.” But as you can see, the rest of the country would literally have precious few fruits and nuts on their plates if it weren’t for our farmers and our fertile land.

It’s time to retire the old joke, and tell it like it really is:

Keep our state on your plate.

To learn more about California farming and ranching, take a look at Cultivate California.

Disclosure: I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Spring Farmers Market Salad was so good on ShockinglyDelicious.com

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Jones March 18, 2016 at 12:27 am

This looks wonderful still a little cool for this sort of produce here in the heart of Europe but we’re not a million miles away 🙂


Jillian @ Food, Folks and Fun March 17, 2016 at 10:40 pm

Dorothy, your spring salad looks incredible! I live in California, too and the abundance of fresh produce, nuts, and meat is my favorite!


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 10:41 pm

We have nothing to whine about!


Meg @ With Salt and Wit March 17, 2016 at 7:31 pm

Please make sure I am reading this right it’s for real! This looks soo good!


Nutmeg Nanny March 17, 2016 at 7:22 pm

This salad looks so fresh and delicious!


Rebekah | Kitchen Gidget March 17, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Wow I had no idea all that food was produced in California – and in those quantities! That salad looks PERFECT.


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 10:27 pm

It is kind of a surprise. Kind of a stealth fact.


shelby March 17, 2016 at 5:33 pm

I am so jealous! Everything is beautiful! I have to wait for May to get here for a farmer’s market and even then it will only be early garden produce. I want to move to CA! lol


Sara March 17, 2016 at 5:30 pm

This looks incredible! I am so anxious for warm weather; growing crops and a chance to buy locally grown produce again!


Laura / I Heart Naptime March 17, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Oh my goodness, that salad looks amazing!

And I’ve been concerned about the environment for awhile. I try to purchase as much local produce as possible, and farmers haven’t had a good year in over ten years. It’s terrifying and more people should be aware of where their food comes from.


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 10:28 pm

I quite agree. If people understood, they would be more concerned.


Peter @ Feed Your Soul Too March 17, 2016 at 5:10 pm

California has such good produce year round. You are very fortunate. My wife and I like to make salads like this one – lots of different vegetables and some fruit.


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 10:29 pm

You really can’t go wrong with vegetable and fruit in a salad. It’s ALL good!


Charla @ that girl cooks healthy March 17, 2016 at 4:34 pm

I love the pairing of fruit with this wonderful salad – good choice.


Katalina @ Peas & Peonies March 17, 2016 at 4:32 pm

What a great salad, love all the fresh ingredients.


Priscilla | ShesCookin' March 17, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Here, here! That is STILL how people think of CA in many areas, and along with that is the feeling that the drought is simply our problem because of the population and it has no bearing on them. Thanks for sharing this very informative article, Dorothy.


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Yes, I have encountered so many people who think the drought won’t affect them because there’s plenty of rain in THEIR state. They have no idea we grow all their food!


Diana March 17, 2016 at 12:26 pm

This recipe sounds very delicious and refreshing and I love how you added the steak!


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Steak just makes salads into an instant main course!


Kylee @ Kylee Cooks March 17, 2016 at 9:52 am

That is absolutely gorgeous.The colors are soooo pretty! I love salads with fruit. YUM!


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 10:02 am

Fruit is like a secret ingredient to spark any salad, IMHO. 🙂


Claudia | Gourmet Project March 17, 2016 at 9:28 am

I looooove strawberries in salad. Never tried with meat, but guess it’s time. Thanks for the wonderful, colorful recipe!


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 10:02 am

Steak and strawberries is EPIC!


Mica @ Let's Taco Bout It Blog March 17, 2016 at 9:17 am

Farmer Markets are very underrated. We shop at Farmers Market once a week to help support our local farming community. I love this post and the message it delivers!


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 10:03 am

Absolutely, supporting local farming community. It’s a MUST-DO!


Bintu | Recipes from a Pantry March 17, 2016 at 8:55 am

I love love love popping out to our local farmers market every week! We get a CSA and so we benefit from fresh local produce from May till November every year!


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 10:03 am

A CSA is another great idea!


Ali @ Home & Plate March 17, 2016 at 8:46 am

What a fresh looking salad. Love your dressing ingredients. Will be trying this very soon. Yum!


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 10:03 am

That dressing would be good on so many things.


Tara March 17, 2016 at 7:40 am

That is a stunning salad, great post!!


Dorothy Reinhold March 17, 2016 at 7:42 am

Thanks Tara!


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