Despite what the display at your local grocery store tells you, the first sign of spring in New England isn’t asparagus or strawberries. It’s parsnips. But not just any parsnip. These are Spring Dug. On the outside they’re gnarly looking, with a sprout of green at the top. On the inside, they’re sweeter than a carrot, creamier than a potato. Most farmers don’t take on the extra effort to grow Spring Dug. Michael Docter does, because he is amazing. At Winter Moon Roots Farm in Hadley, Michael leaves a few hundred pounds of parsnips underground through the coldest months, knowing that he’ll be back for them once the soil thaws. It’s fun (and calming) to think that throughout this whole difficult winter, the parsnips were just there, waiting…
What goes on under the soil? When temperatures begin to drop, parsnips (worrying that they might freeze) will begin to convert their starches into sugars. Sugars don’t freeze as fast, so it’s kind of a defense mechanism. The result of this chemical process is a sweeter, creamier, less starchy parsnip.
This was not a bumper year for parsnips, but we’ve gotten ahold of a few sought-after bags of Spring Dug. Michael and Rosendo are graciously gifting a mini bundle of them in the first 250 2- or 4-person meal boxes ordered for next week (for Tuesday and Thursday delivery/pickup). What can you do with your bounty? Anything you can do with regular ones (they will just be ten times better).
– Bryant Terry’s Roasted Parsnips with Onion Mustard Sauce (inspired by Senegalese poulet yassa)
– Rolando’s Parsnip Pear Soup (an early favorite on the Clover Food Truck at MIT, the sweetness of pears “pair” perfectly with the sweetness of parsnips)
– A take on our Parsnip sandwich from years past (you’ll need cheddar, mayo, and a Southern pickle called chow-chow)
– Smitten Kitchen’s Parsnip Latkes (because maybe you have some leftover toppings from your Passover meal)
– Grated and folded into Parsnip Muffins from Serious Eats (you’ll need mace, a cousin of nutmeg that pairs particularly well with parsnips – find it at Curio Spice in Cambridge).
– Martha Stewart’s Parsnip and Carrot Souffle (because her recipes just always work!)
– Halved and slow-roasted in butter, served on vanilla ice cream with lots of nuts and chocolate, in a nod to the fact that parsnips were actually used as a banana substitute during WW2 rationing in England (thank you, Flavor Thesaurus, for this fact)
Which box pairs best with this free gift? We’ve consulted our box guides and the answer is clear…
Our super popular, super generous (and easy on the wallet) Winter Seasonal Box is about to be retired to make way for a Spring Seasonal Box. Your last day to order this amazing box is Thursday April 8.
It has everything you need to make Venezuelan Plantain Sandwiches with Hearty Veg Stew, Chris’ Mac & Cheese, and Shepherd’s Pie. To snack on, there’s silky hummus and raw dipping veggies, and for dessert there’s churros and chocolate sauce and apple white chocolate mousse.
PS: To clarify what we mean by 2- or 4-person meal box, the following boxes are eligible for the gift if ordered for delivery of pickup on 4/6 and 4/8: Starter Box, Winter Seasonal Box, Breakfast Box, Classics Box, Mediterranean Box, Post-Meat Box, Vegan Box, and Gluten-Free Box. We have a limited amount of gifts (they go quickly!), and only first 250 eligible boxes ordered will receive.
PPS (update 4/10): When we announced our Spring Dug Parsnip collab last week we had no idea how popular it would be! These parsnips are really special, and it made us so happy to see how excited people got. So we’ve secured one more delivery of parsnips from Winter Moon Roots, and are able to offer this gift for the next 250 folks to order meal boxes for April 13 or 15.