In the Bay Area, spring is when Nature wears her richest green clothing, and it’s when farmers’ market shoppers know to look for curious treasures, such as green garlic, fava beans, and rhubarb.

This issue feels similarly gifted by the season of fresh, new, and unique, especially so with the artwork we received for these pages.

Some pieces are by artists who have been contributing for years, such as Margo Rivera-Weiss (What’s in Season). Margo made her Edible East Bay debut with the enticing apples on our Harvest 2008 cover.

We also welcome back J. Panter (A Different Way of Farming), whose flowering apricot tree graced the Spring 2009 cover.

Other returning artists include Local Food Wheel illustrators Sarah Klein and Maggie Gosselin, our expert photographer, Nicki Rosario, and the indispensable Helen Krayenhoff, who painted the rhubarb image at left and contributes art to most every issue. Helen holds the informal title of art and garden editor for Edible East Bay, so she’s the one with the job of rounding up all the artwork.

The surprise this time is to have four artists who are entirely new to us, including two who are quite young and just starting to get their work out in public venues.

Helen “discovered” Kendra Canfield (Last Bite)) on a visit to Lush Gelato. The scoopista had to put aside her doodling for a minute to dip the requested Salted Stracciatella, giving Helen a chance to scrutinize the doodled-on napkin with its expertly rendered flower. Helen left with the ice cream and Kendra’s email address.

Budding artist Mary Brown, who works at The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, contacted us last fall with samples of her work. When we asked if she could do an avocado illustration, she enthusiastically took up the challenge and produced five. We couldn’t choose, so they all appear in The East Bay Avocado.

Helen found our cover artist, Cristian Guerrero, at Uptown Body & Fender during a first Friday Oakland Art Murmur event. Cristian generously offered the painting for our farmers’ market guide  as well as the images of his mother’s embroideries that appear under “About Our Cover Artist” on the table of contents page.

Many thanks to Helen and all of these artists for making this issue one of the most beautiful yet!

So it’s looking like a good spring from our vantage point, and we hope it proves fruitful for you as well. If I could guess, you’ll be eating some avocados.

Here’s to green, my favorite color!