What’s in Season April 2019

Reno-Tahoe farmers prepare for spring planting.

Written by Claire McArthur

Photos by Charles Schembre, Desert Farming Initiative

It may be spring according to the calendar, but in the Reno-Tahoe region, it’s that time of year that I, with a tinge of irritation, refer to as “sprinter.” It only takes one look up at the snowy mountains to know what I’m talking about.

Some farmers are beginning to plant outside the hoop houses and tunnels, as the weather allows, but the produce is still aplenty from inside the protected grow houses.

It’s a tough balancing act for farmers each year to decide when to start planting and what to grow. The soil must be in the right temperature range and have the right moisture content. Cold, wet soil can invite rot or disease and is often more compact, which could impact the root growth. Overly drenched fields also have the potential for equipment to get stuck.

Though most of our regional farmers’ markets are still a couple of months off, that doesn’t mean you need to skip the local produce. Reno’s year-round market, Riverside Farmers’ Market, is held every Saturday through May from 9 a.m. to noon at the McKinley Arts & Culture Center (925 Riverside Drive) in Reno. In June, the market switches to Thursday evenings at the other side of the building.

Our beloved regional food hubs, Great Basin Community Food Co-op and Fallon Food Hub, also are great places to see what our farmers are growing this time of year.

And let’s not forget about the exciting opportunity to sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with your local farmer.


Many farmers have green mixes available for purchase at this time of year

So whether your tastes lean toward the spring side of “sprinter” — colorful salads and bright veggie dishes — or still dwell in winter — hearty stews and roasts — make sure to incorporate as much local, seasonal produce into your meals as possible. It’s good for your body, it’s good for your farmer, and it’s good for our communities.

Here’s what’s currently in season in the Reno-Tahoe area:

Desert Farming Initiative (Reno):


Hoop houses and other indoor grows allow farmers to produce certain vegetables, like this butterhead lettuce, year round

  • Kale (green curly and Tuscan/dino)
  • Rainbow carrots
  • Romaine and butterhead lettuce
  • Spring green mix
  • Spicy greens
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Plant starts (tomatoes, peppers, kale, lettuce, and basil)



Desert Farming Initiative has Siberian kale available to purchase right now


Just because we’re not at the peak of produce season doesn’t mean you can’t keep your meals colorful and local. Desert Farming Initiative is producing this gorgeous little gem lettuce right now


Dayton Valley Aquaponics (Dayton):

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Slicer tomatoes
  • Sweet baby bell peppers
  • Hot chiles
  • Persian cucumbers
  • Mixed microgreens
  • Sierra blue tilapia

Prema Farms (Reno):


Radishes are a great vegetable to add some crunch and spice to your salads, but they are also delicious sautéed in butter or roasted in the oven.

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Carrots
  • Japanese hakurei turnips
  • Winter baby arugula
  • Mixed salad greens
  • French breakfast radishes
  • Bacchus radishes
  • Beets
  • Bok choy
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach

Looking for an idea for how to use ripe spring produce? Try this delicious side dish.

Spiced Roasted Rainbow Carrots

(courtesy of Claire McArthur, freelance writer and home cook. Serves 4)


Rainbow carrots are a beautiful vegetable to roast this spring (and chock full of nutrients, to boot)

1 pound rainbow carrots

1 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 fresh lemon

Olive oil



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel carrots and remove tops (save to use later in a stock or to make this delicious carrot-top pesto recipe). Depending on the size of your carrots, you can leave them whole or cut into slender sticks. On a baking sheet, drizzle the carrots with olive oil and toss. Sprinkle with cumin, cinnamon, and a few healthy grinds of salt and pepper, then toss again. Roast carrots in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until tender. Spritz with the fresh lemon and enjoy!