Illustrations by Jandos Rothstein

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Chef Haidar Karoum is preparing to open his Navy Yard restaurant Chloe (named after the Greek goddess of agriculture), where the focus will be on celebrating the seasons. He lights up talking about how the smell of the first strawberries in May triggers childhood memories, but he’s also into setting realistic expectations. “People think of watermelon on the Fourth of July, but they don’t peak then, and same thing with corn on the cob,” he says.

People also get ahead of themselves with spring when the first ramp makes its way onto an Instagram feed. “The thing with spring is that most chefs, and I’d assume most people, are itching for it to happen faster than it wants to happen,” he says.

To calibrate diner expectations, we asked Karoum to detail when different kinds of produce best shine.