Judging by restaurant menus this time of year, one would think that asparagus, ramps, and fiddleheads are the first signals of the return of spring to our plates. But no matter how much we fetishize them, these are spring foods that, locally at least, are barely beginning to emerge. If the farmers and foragers aren’t yet eating them, you can be sure that we city dwellers won’t be either. Around here, the true signals of the warming season are the leafy green things, cultivated with care inside or under protective cover. Soak up some sunshine this weekend, spring clean your sorry little excuse for a garden, and pick up some greens and beneficial bacteria, both for you and your garden, as we wait for those big stars to make their debuts.
Greens Galore – Brogue Hydroponics, who will have stands at both the Fitler Square and Clark Park markets this weekend, will be bringing an incredible variety of tender, young things for you to admire: watercress, arugula, mesclun mix, and head lettuces like green leaf, romaine, and butterhead. At the Chestnut Hill Market Taproot will have pretty little microgreens for you, and over at Clark Park Pennypack Farm is planning to bring some juicy and delicious bok choi and tatsoi.
Compost & Potted Plants – Weather-wise, this is going to be the perfect weekend to freshen up your little city garden, be it it on a balcony, a deck, a yard, or a window box. Find fresh new shoots, edible or not, from Triple Tree Flower Farm at Rittenhouse this weekend, and give them their best chance at survival by feeding them some compost. Both Landisdale Farm (at Clark Park) and Bennett Compost (at Rittenhouse) will be selling bags of compost to add nutrients back to your city soil.
Kvass – If you feel like it’s your insides that need a little spring cleaning (in the form of probiotics) stop by Food & Ferments to try some deeply savory beet kvass. The lacto-fermented beverage is made from beet juice, ginger, and garlic and has the same meaty richness as a bloody mary, although tangier and, you know, not vodka. If that’s a little heavy duty for you they’ll also have three flavors of kombucha including cherry cider, blueberry lime, and ginger lime.
Scallions – No, they’re not their wild leek cousins, ramps, but Pennypack Farm will have some delicious, spicy scallions available at the Clark Park Market this Saturday. Add zip to salads or throw a few on the grill for a perfect accompaniment to whatever meat you’re grilling.
Lambs & Hams – Planning a family meal for Easter or Passover in the next few weeks? The Fair Food Farmstand has started pre-orders for local, pasture-raised lamb from Jamison Farm, and hams from Sweet Stem Farm, Meadow Run Farm, and Country Time Farm for your holiday meals.
Find something great at your local market? Instagram or tweet it and tag accordingly: @foobooz #fooboozthedirt