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Aspara-berry-lust drives spring market season

When Peachtree Road Farmers Market opens for the season on April 14, Cory Mosser will be ready with a one-two sales punch: asparagus and strawberries.At Burge Organic Farm in Mansfield, both harvests came early this year, so Mosser is itching for market season to begin. “We’re bringing our A-game this year,” he says.That’s good news, because consumers’ appetite for the two crops seems bottomless. Last year, Mosser regularly sold out. By the time his two spring superstars wind down this June, Mosser expects to have sold literally tons of product. Each of the farm’s 4,000 strawberry plants should yield about a pound of fruit. And Burge has one of the biggest asparagus patches around: about 1/4 acre. With the youngest plants turning three, this year’s harvest should approach peak productivity.Each crop brings its own challenges. Strawberries must be planted annually under sheets of plastic, and asparagus—a rare perennial vegetable—require endless hours of weeding, especially when raised organically. So even though the retail price is relatively pricey—$5 for a pint of berries or a ¾-pound bunch of asparagus—these high-maintenance delicacies not only sell themselves, but they also sell other produce.Next weekend, Mosser plans to arrive in Buckhead with about 100 pints of berries and 100 bunches of asparagus—along with ample supplies of spring onions, sweet salad turnips, beets, carrots, radishes, arugula, kale and cabbage.“If you’re going to come over to my stand and buy a bunch of asparagus and some strawberries, you’re also going to buy some lettuce and arugula,” he says. “It really gets us off to a great start.”Markets open now: Decatur, Douglasville Main Street, Emory, Marietta Square, Morningside, Peachtree City 

Spice up bleak midwinter with colorful radishes

We’re still a few months away from the cheerful little radishes of spring, but right now you can find their hardier, spicy siblings in markets.

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