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Written by Cheryl Sternman Rule, Slow Food USA member and author of the new cookbook, Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables

Green. Greengreengreengreengreen.

Green as a word has become so closely aligned with notions of environmental stewardship that we’ve forgotten its most common meaning. Before it promised that your detergent was nontoxic and your dry cleaner renounced plastic death-sacks, before it denoted sustainability, responsibility, and eco-friendly-ability, the word green meant, you know, green. As in, the color of moss, that dollar in your wallet, and a big, shiny Granny Smith apple, the one just waiting for a smear of peanut butter or a fat hunk of cheese.

It’s time to celebrate the best and, literally, greenest offerings to come — at the farm stand, in the produce aisle, and in your own garden. With the approach of St. Patrick’s Day and spring waving hello, let’s momentarily sidestep the corned beef and give almost-here green vegetables their due. (Cabbage will get plenty of love this week, so I’ll skip it below.)