LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  As we give our wool coats and insulated boots a rest, it is also time to get out from under those heavy winter ingredients; gravy, beef chili, pot roast, and look toward lighter menu ideas. And Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen's Janine Washle says it can be a little difficult to find local vegetables in early spring, since gardens are still cold and Kentucky spring vegetables don't arrive until May-June. 

But you can move beyond local to seasonal produce from surrounding states. Southern states, George, Alabama, and Florida, have asparagus, leafy greens, onions, even tomatoes to brighten up early spring menus. Read the labels at the grocery store to determine where the produce has traveled from. Look to pantry staples like grains, potatoes and rice for the backbone of your meals. Ditch the heavy beef cuts for lighter options like chicken, seafood, even lean pork.

Aside from lighter meats and vegetables, spring brings the first fruits of the season namely strawberries. While typically thought of as an out of hand fruit or a dessert partner, don't hesitate to liven up a vinaigrette with pureed strawberries, spiff up a salsa with chopped strawberries, or halve and toss strawberries into a spring spinach salad. Spinach and strawberries are a match made in heaven!

Spring forward with fresh menu ideas that incorporate the first-of-the-season offerings. Even though early spring can mean chilly mornings even a sleet pellet or two, recipes highlighting spring produce will inspire you to savor this new season.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

Makes: Approximately 1 cup


¼ cup strawberry jam
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup chopped stemmed strawberries
¼ cup canola oil
¼ tsp cracked black pepper


In a medium bowl, whisk together jam, and vinegar until combined. Stir in strawberries, oil, and pepper. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Keeps approximately 2 weeks.

NOTE: Never salt strawberries if using in a savory recipe. Salt dulls even erases the flavor of fresh strawberries. Pepper and balsamic vinegar, on the other hand, bring out the flavor of the berries.


Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen also has a special Spring-Inspired Recipe Booklet available by email. To ask for a complimentary copy, just email Janine Washle at cloverfields.farm.ky@gmail.com

To find Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen on Facebook CLICK HERE.    

CloverFields Farm & Kitchen
Hardin Springs Area
Big Clifty, KY 42712 

About Janine Washle: 

Janine Washle and her family live at the Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen in Big Clifty, Kentucky in Hardin County. CloverFields Farm & Kitchen, part of a century old farmstead, is our home and business. The McGuffin house, the original farmhouse, is a registered state landmark. CloverFields Farm has a prosperous farming history. They are continuing this rural story in their own unique way by the addition of CloverFields Kitchen a place to explore the past through food and merge it with our modern lifestyles. 

CloverFields Farm is dedicated to the preservation of southern, especially Kentucky, food traditions. The kitchen is commercially-outfitted compliant with Health Department standards. In this kitchen I develop new recipes based on original ideas, inspirations from my culinary research, and most often according to what is in season. 

On the farm, they make many gifts and specialty items. She is currently working on her first cookbook, but she also has a long resume developing recipes for several companies. She has also won several contests and cook-offs with her original recipes. 

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