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

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The April showers have arrived a little behind schedule this year, unfortunately. But despite the drizzle, another seasonal farmer’s market is coming back on line each week. This weekend the Swarthmore Farmer’s Market opens back up, as does the Dickinson Square Farmer’s Market on Sunday. Next Wednesday is the return of the small but mighty Fountain Farmer’s Market on East Passyunk, and Roxborough welcomes the return of the Gorgas Park Market a week from today. Ramps are almost done for the year, but rhubarb is going strong and you’re sure to find these and lots of other spring favorites no matter which market you frequent.

Centennial Hops – Definitely a first for area farmer’s markets, Lunaria Gardens is growing fresh hops, available for sale at the Chestnut Hill and Clark Park Markets. Add these to your garden and make the homebrew enthusiast in your life very happy.

Head Lettuce & Chinese Lettuce – Springtime is salad season, and lots of growers are past the baby lettuce stage and are starting to show up to farmer’s markets with whole, fluffy heads. Look for red and green leaf varieties, romaine, and lesser known frilly, light green Black Seeded Simson lettuces.

Hakurei Turnips – Joining the radishes in the spring line-up are the salad turnips. This white variety from Japan has become highly popular among area growers for their mild flavor, and juicy, crunchy texture. Mandolin these roots into a salad and don’t forget to eat the delicate greens, too–either fresh or cooked. Look for them from Blooming Glen at the Headhouse market.

Mustard Greens – Spicy, peppery mustard greens are joining the line-up of kales and collards. Though they often get passed over, they have a horseradish-like bite that wasabi and arugula lovers will love. Pick these up from Urban Girls at Clark Park or from Weavers Way at Headhouse.

Hothouse Vegetables – Though the growing season is early in the fields, a couple of growers have some of our favorite summer vegetables already. Stop by the Clark Park market to try the tomatoes from Hands on the Earth, or the cucumbers and peppers from Forest View.

Spring Garlic – You might initially mistake these green shoots for fat scallions or baby leeks, but spring garlic is actually garlic in scallion form, before it takes on its typical bulbous shape. Spring garlic tends to be mildly spicy with garlic flavor and, best of all, you can use all of it except for any outer leaves that feel leathery. Look for bunched spring Garlic from Landisdale Farm at the Clark Park market and from Root Mass at Headhouse.

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