Despite the inevitable hand-wringing about the cold winter ahead, it is worth noting that we are currently smack in the middle of some of the nicest weeks of the year in Philadelphia. The humans love it and the vegetables do, too.
September is an intense month for local produce. Why? Well, because all of the summer stuff is still here and going strong, but the autumn weather stuff is beginning to roll in as well. Take advantage of these shoulder seasons by stocking up on flavors from both seasons!
If death and taxes are two of life’s certainties, then produce seasonality is the opposite. Every week in this column we try to offer an up-to-the-minute view of what’s growing and showing up at area farmer’s markets, based on reports from market managers, farmers, and what we ourselves are buying and eating. Every once in a while though, we get it wrong. As with all things pertaining to seasonality, consider what follows to be a fingers-crossed scenario. The weather could change in a moment, or the harvest schedule could be thrown off by a broken-down piece of machinery, or the chef could see something on a farm’s instagram feed and snap it up before it makes it to market. The one certainty in agriculture? That whatever does make it from field to farmer’s market will be delicious.
Locally grown produce represents a season’s worth of hard labor for area farmers, and the most rewarding moment of all happens when a customer takes the literal fruits of those labors home to enjoy. Observe this Labor Day by filling your long weekend with gorgeous things to eat! Summer favorites are still going strong along with some new arrivals to market and fall favorites just beginning to appear.
I practically have a PhD in Philly local produce, but even now I’m learning about new fruits and vegetables cropping up at markets. Like CliffsNotes for tenth grade English class, here’s a cheat sheet of the new-to-you produce at this weekend’s farmer’s markets.
Shore house or no, August is meant for crunchy cucumber salads, colorful tomato panzanella, and all the watermelon you can eat. Though this month can sometimes feel like the homestretch of summer, the vendors at farmer’s markets this year are showing no signs of slowing in terms of variety.
Happy National Farmer’s Market Week, everyone! If your meals at this time of year aren’t positively bursting with locally grown goodness, you probably need to examine your life. Not sure where the market most convenient to you is? Check out this handy map of markets run by The Food Trust or Farm to City’s comprehensive listing. Once you’ve found your market, you might also be lucky enough to find some of these local treats as well.
To be honest, you don’t really need me this week. Between the buckets of gladiolas, piles of peppers and cucumbers, and box after box of fragrant tomatoes, it’s kind of impossible to go to a farmer’s market this week and not immediately see how much good stuff is out there. Here are a few things that you should make sure not to overlook.
Peaches, sweet corn, zucchini, and all this good stuff, now appearing at a farmer’s market near you…
Between berries. stone fruits lush handfuls of basil, brightly colored bouquets of zinnias, and ever more tomatoes cropping up, this is one of the most pleasant times of the year to check out a farmer’s market. You have my permission to overwhelm yourself with zucchini, to opt for a full dozen ears of sweet corn, and to throw in that extra pint of cherries, because if we know anything it’s that summer isn’t without end and for now, it’s high July and all those vegetables aren’t gonna eat themselves.