Bright green sprouts, shoots and baby greens may be the first local produce you look for in spring, but the true first harvest (after maple, of course) has been ripening and sweetening in the ground all winter. The extreme temperatures of our northern Vermont winters convert the starches in the parsnips to sugar and allow the parsnips' flavor to mellow. The result is a magically sweet, tender root. Chefs rejoice when the ground thaws and these parsnips surface - sweet enough for dessert and earthy enough for savory applications. To find local, spring-dug parsnips at a farm near you - look here.