The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend

Yes, there is another flower show in town: The gorgeous Macy's Spring 2015 Flower Show is offering a series of events this week. Stop by this Wednesday at 1 pm for a seminar with floral designer Yoli Lagurerre (complete with tea and snacks) and this Thursday, create your own arrangement during a crafting session starting at 5pm. Of course, don't forget to take in the blooms throughout the store. Runs through April 4th, various times, free, Macy's, 1300 Market Street.

This week I was all ready to go on and on about how the last of winter isn’t so bad, about how you’ve got Saint Patrick’s day to look forward to, about kale and potatoes and meaty, stick-to-your-ribs things like colcannon and sausages. Apparently, this week had other plans for me–for us, really. Irrepressibly warm, sunshine-flooded days the likes of which we don’t typically see until well into April, or sometimes even May. Is it global warming? Probably. Still, it’s kind of great nonetheless. A fitting way to ring in the early arrival of the season is to put on a t-shirt and walk yourself to the local market. Not only will walking mean that you can reduce your carbon footprint, it’ll also allow you to enjoy the sights and smells of a city coming out of hibernation a little earlier than usual.

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The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend

beets1

In just three weeks, on March 20th, the Spring Equinox arrives and we shift (thank goodness) towards warmer weather. In the meantime, this is probably a good time to cook all of those wintery things that you haven’t made yet this year. I’m talking about your beef stew, your potato-turnip gratin, your roasted root vegetables, your carrot soup, your chili, and your mashed potatoes. If there were ever a moment to embrace the starchy, sweet long-keeping vegetables of winter, this would be that moment. In just a few weeks things are going to begin to shift towards greenery. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the sweet, roasty, caramelized flavors of winter while you can.

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The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend

TaprootCarrots

Guess what’s new at the farmer’s market this weekend? Strawberries! Ha. Just kidding. You’ve been pranked. It’s not even April Fool’s Day, yet. What it is, is very nearly March and March is nothing if not the bleakest month of the year for locally grown food. While area farmer’s might be busily planning, ordering seeds and starting vegetable seedlings for the spring growing season, ain’t nothing ready to go into the ground out there yet. Still, the markets soldier on, loading and unloading the same potatoes, apples, and turnips every week for your perusal. This week we’re celebrating the gold stars of storage vegetables, not only the things that are available locally, but the best among those things. These are the vegetables that are going to see you through until the strawberries finally join the party in May.

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First Look: Double Knot

DoubleKnot8

A few weeks ago, Michael Schulson opened the doors of Double Knot in what was once a gay porn theater smack in the middle of Midtown Village. Though the entrance is still a little understated, a diminutive sign hanging next to a windowless wooden door, expect to see many more people going, and coming (get it?), at the address in the weeks ahead.

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The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend

Taproot

This time of year there are few surprises at weekly farmer’s markets. You can pretty much count on the carrots, the potatoes, and the apples at the moment, but beyond the parsnips there are few things that inspire great anticipation or excitement until we creep considerably closer to springtime. That’s why, in the midst of cold weather and gray days, it is so exciting when there are actual surprises. And this week, even in the dead of winter, a few area growers have some surprisingly green midwinter additions to the farmer’s market spread.

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The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend

Porcini

Do you guys know what the forecast is going to be for tomorrow? I’ll tell you. The high is 19° and the low is a whopping 7°F. What does that feel like? It feels awful. It feels like your boogers freezing inside your nose. It feels like brain-freeze, except it’s your whole body and there’s no ice cream. It’s about as bad as it gets around here. Area farmers will, nevertheless, be staffing the farmer’s markets at Rittenhouse Square (10:00-2:00), Clark Park (10:00-2:00), Fitler Square (9:00-2:00), and Chestnut Hill (10:00-Noonish), so you practically owe it to them to go buy some vegetables. Posted hours aside, if business is slow and the weather is awful some farms might pack up early, so this is definitely an instance to go earlier rather than later. Also? It happens to be Valentine’s Day on Sunday and sweetheart or no, you should probably cook something nice.

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The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend

Potatoes2

After a well-deserved week off, all area farmer’s markets are back on schedule for tomorrow. That means that Rittenhouse, Fitler Square, Clark Park, Bryn Mawr, and Chestnut Hill will all be present and accounted for, so you can stretch your legs and restock on local food following a shut-in weekend.

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First Look: Urban Farmer

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Last year we said goodbye to a Philadelphia institution and a standard bearer of fine dining, The Fountain at the Four Seasons. Now, there’s a new kid in town. Urban Farmer Steakhouse opened a month ago in the historic restaurant space in what is now The Logan hotel. Just as Avance was always compared to Le Bec Fin, so too will Urban Farmer be compared to The Fountain, and the two are very, very different dining experiences.

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The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Under normal circumstances the folks staffing Philly’s farmer’s markets are a hardy bunch. August’s temperature spikes, November’s frosts, and April’s rain showers don’t phase or slow down people who routinely deal with livestock and pull food from the very ground.

This weekend, however, they’re coming as close to taking a break as they ever do. Both Farm to City and The Food Trust have made the decision to close all of this weekend’s year-round farmer’s markets to prevent area growers from having to navigate what, at the moment anyway, are projected to be tough driving conditions. You heard right: no farmer’s markets this weekend in Rittenhouse, Chestnut Hill, Fitler Square, Clark Park, or Bryn Mawr. Considering the fact that many of these growers drive an hour or more to get downtown, market organizers are doing their best to make safe decisions for one and all. This week, instead of highlighting what to look for at your local farmer’s markets, I’m highlighting a few places to shop for local foods besides your local farmer’s market. Get your bread, get your milk, and stock up on snack food, because it’s time to hunker down, farmer’s included.

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