We’re in the home stretch, people. March and April are some of the toughest months for seasonal eating, because we’re winding down on the storage crops (potatoes, apples, squash, and root vegetables), but the spring favorites that make it clear that a new season is beginning are still several weeks away. Nonetheless, there’s still plenty of good stuff to be found at our winter markets. Here are a few hyperlocal heroes that have been hanging around since fall that you might be overlooking.
Red Kuri Squash – Are you tired of squash yet? Me neither. Sure, pumpkin wears out its welcome a little bit once the holidays are through, but week after week I seem to put another squash or two in my shopping basket and somehow they keep disappearing. They’re just so versatile. Puree with cream and stock for soup, cube and cook in coconut milk for a curry, or roast them to toss into grains or greens for a salad. If you wind up at the Clark Park Market, stop by Livengood Family Farm for a red kuri squash. They have a teardrop shape and a bright orange color with rich orange flesh that can have a sweet, nutty, almost chestnut-like flavor
Black Walnuts – Though you may only ever have thought of black walnut as a flavor extract up there next to the bottles of almond and vanilla in the baking aisle of the supermarket, you’re in for a treat. Foraged fruit of the American black walnut tree are a pain to collect and hull, but the intense maple-coffee flavor of their meat is staggering. With their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and more protein than any other tree nut, they also happen to be insanely good for you. Eden Garden at Clark Park still has some for you to scatter into a salad or bake up a batch of shortbread.
Royal Trumpet Mushrooms – This being Pennsylvania, home of Kennett Square, the mushroom growing capital, there’s no shortage of fine-lookin’ fungi around, but the folks at Primordia Mushroom Farm at the Clark Park market are really outdoing themselves these days. Their ‘shrooms are uncommonly beautiful and have obviously been handled with immense care. Pick up a chunk of their velvety blue gray oyster mushrooms or splurge for a few royal trumpets. These big, dense mushrooms have a firm white flesh, a clean flavor and a meaty texture which they retain when cooked, unlike portabellas, which can get soggy. I like them sliced lengthwise and roasted to top a risotto.
Good Spoon Soups – If you are truly tired of facing down the peeling and roasting of another root vegetable, let the folks at Good Spoon do the work for you. They offer their selection of seasonal soups up every week at the Rittenhouse market (and sometimes Chestnut Hill, too) and their winter menu is still going strong with flavors like rustic lentil with kale and potatoes, curried ginger carrot, Senegalese chicken and peanut, or Italian wedding.
Bosc Pears – Usually by this time of year the pears are long gone, but Beechwood Orchards at Rittenhouse still has bosc beauties. These firm-fleshed pears are perfect for poaching, shaving into salads with a little cheese, or roasting with vanilla sugar.
Seeds – Even if we’re in for more snow on Monday, Greensgrow is celebrating opening day of their nursery tomorrow! Enjoy 10% off seeds, potting soils, and seed starting supplies from 10 until 4, and pick up some lingering winter veggies at their market while you’re there.
Find something great at your local market? Instagram it and tag accordingly: @foobooz #fooboozthedirt