Spring is in full swing and more local fruits and vegetables will soon be making their way to a produce aisle near you.

The new product showcase at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s tradeshow, which was held in in Calgary this week, featured a number of new items that are meant to minimize your time in the kitchen while ensuring your diet includes a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables.

Registered dietitian Zannat Reza spoke to CTV’s Canada AM on Friday about what produce trends shoppers can expect to see in the coming weeks and months.

1. Greenhouse strawberries

Reza said the strawberries grown in greenhouses throughout Canada are smaller than what’s typically imported into the country, but just as flavourful.

She noted that shoppers may be happy to hear that no pesticides are used to grow the sweet fruit.

And most importantly: “They’re going to be in season all year-round,” Reza said.

2. Living lettuce

Similar to potted herbs for the kitchens, or fresh wheatgrass that’s growing on juice bar countertops, living lettuce allows shoppers to buy the greens with their roots still intact.

“You’ll feel like a gardener, even though you’re getting (the lettuce) at a grocery store,” Reza said.

3. Pre-cut vegetables, soup kits

Vegetables that are already washed, cut and ready-to-go are nothing new. But Reza said the variety of products that helps shopper cut back on the time they spend in the kitchen is expanding.

Pre-cut mushrooms geared towards specific meals, such as steak or stir-fry, were among the convenience items at the new product showcase.

Reza said “soup kits,” which could include pre-cut butternut squash, fennel and a variety of herbs, would only require the chef to add some stock to the mixture to make a quick and healthy meal.

4. Food waste, re-invented

Broccoli stems that have been washed and cut, and “cauliflower crumbles” were among the produce products aimed at cutting back at food waste.

Reza said the broccoli stems could easily be steamed or used in a stir-fry, and the cauliflower crumbles can be incorporated into baked goods, for a hidden dose of vegetables.

5. Potato trays

Reza said mini-potatoes are in high demand and a number of new varieties of the starchy vegetables will be making their way to grocery stores.

She said an innovative product at this year’s showcase was a steamable potato tray.

“Put them in the microwave and five minutes later you have a flavourful mini potato side dish ready to go,” Reza said.

Source: Canada AM