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.
Kusa Squash– In the event that you’re not totally sick of zucchini yet, you should stop by the Clark Park market on Thursday and try Quaff Meadows’kusa squash. These pale green squash, which are similar to their Italian brethren, are best when small, and in the cuisines of in Syria, Cyprus, Lebanon, Greece and Turkey they’re often eaten stuffed with ground meat, rice, spices, and some tomato.
Rainbow Beets – You’re probably unimpressed by the idea of rainbow beets, picturing a now standard triad of red, yellow, and candy-striped beets, but the ones from North Star Orchards are the OG of rainbow beets. These thin-skinned specimens, which are larger than standard beets, have assorted patterns ranging from pale gold to yellow and white stripes and pink and white stripes. They also happen to only be available from North Star Orchards as they are a hybrid developed by Ike and Lisa Kerschner! Make like a hipster and try them at Headhouse this weekend before they were cool.
Japanese Leopard Melon – Whereas North Star is pioneering new varieties of vegetables, Happy Cat (also at Headhouse) is dedicated to the cultivation (and seed saving!) of old ones. This weekend you can taste a piece of that diversity in the form of the cutest little melons you ever did see. Japanese leopard melons are a kind of small, variegated honeydew with creamy, pale yellow rinds casually striped with green.
Italian Bull’s Horn Peppers– Though many folks around these parts are well acquainted with Italian frying peppers, sometimes called cubanelles, they might be less familiar with their red counterparts called “corno di toro,”or bull’s horn, because of their often curved shape. Though the flesh of these Italian imports rests resolutely on the sweet side of the spectrum, they have a faint spicy tingle, which makes them especially good fried, grilled or stuffed.
Find something great at your local market? Instagram it and tag accordingly: @foobooz #fooboozthedirt