Between the Barleywine Bonanza, the Brewer’s Plate, the Craft Beer Express, and all your regularly scheduled imbibing, there’s going to be a lot of drinking happening in Philadelphia this weekend. And what’s the best thing to eat with beer? Burgers. And what’s the best burger around? A burger made from pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, or turkey. Thanks to the modern miracle of residential refrigeration, we’re able to enjoy any of the above raised locally and with care by the very same people who will price it out and wrap it up for you at your local market this weekend. Here are some suggestions for your next patty:
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.
Do you ever get a craving for something that you just can’t shake? For me this week, that craving is for Korean barbecue. I could (and probably should, considering the terrible ventilation in my kitchen) make the trip up 5th Street to Kim’s BBQ, but since area farmer’s markets are looking to get back on track this week–and since we’re in for a few relatively warm days (mid-fifties! woo!)–I’m going to fire up the grill and attempt it at home. Here’s my plan:
The Dirt this week is buried under The Snow. Even the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal–normally toasty warm from the fat sizzling off the cheesesteak beef at Carmen’s and the wafts of hot, smoky air from The Rib Stand–is feeling the chill. Their farms and suppliers had a rough week for deliveries with all the bad weather, so you might find local food availability to be a bit spotty at your regular shops. The good news is that even if you can’t get your full compliment of local goodies, you can always have a PB&J. February is made for comfort food, and what could be more comforting than a classic peanut butter and jelly? Local-ize yours because, snow or no, the Clark Park and Fitler Square farmer’s markets will be happening as usual (though the Chestnut Hill Farmer’s Market is definitely closed tomorrow), so bundle up and head out there.
With every drugstore and florist in full, garish Valentine’s Day splendor, it’s only fitting that the farmer’s markets get in on the action. Whether you’re a V-Day grinch or a fan, here are some rosy, local options to love.
Rumor has it that there’s some kind of significant football game this weekend. Despite being born into the Steeler Nation, I don’t follow that kind of thing, but I do love the kind of food that people seem to serve when such sporting enterprises are happening. It tends to be indulgent, stick-to-the-ribs food that has undeniable (if somewhat unhealthy) appeal, and much of it can be local-ized if you so desire.
There’s some relief in the end of January. It might be cold and snowy, but on days when the murk clears there are crisp, blue skies to make the chill seem less threatening. The days are creeping longer by a few moments–a welcome reminder that it won’t always be this chilly. Everyone is over their lofty resolutions, so now we can settle into 2014 with good, sturdy, satisfying foods, to nourish ourselves and each other.
I’m having trouble getting excited about vegetables today, but it’s not because vegetables aren’t exciting. Frankly, it’s because all I can think about is the local chicken fried in pasture-raised beef fat that I ate last night at the Kensington Quarters fried chicken pop up. I’m serious people–if you want some seriously indulgent local meat-eating fun, don’t miss your final chance next Thursday. In the meantime, I’ll treasure the memory of that meal by cooking up my own versions of some of the things served along with it.
We know “The Dirt” has created a faithful readership since debuting over the summer. Author Emily Teel’s tips for what to look for each weekend have been invaluable. There is also great photography with each post. If you’re a Pinterest user, you’ll want to make sure you follow our Philadelphia Farmers’ Markets board. It’s visually appealing and educational too.
As you might have noticed, it’s a little cold out. Even without this week’s POLAR VORTEX, January is not the season when the farmer’s markets abound with perfect rainbows of peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. These next few months are a hardscrabble time of year for local eating, especially when its just easier to just go ahead and buy 2 for $5 blueberries out-of-season and every media outlet is touting their benefits. While it might be impossible to eat 100% local in winter around here – and doing so would deny ourselves the pleasures of pomegranates, oranges, and heck, even broccoli for the time being – we’re lucky that in Philly, January doesn’t mean that we have to forgo access to local foods altogether. Between the badass year-round outdoor farmer’s market vendors (I see you Clark Park! I see you Rittenhouse!), Greensgrow’s Farmstand is still going strong in Kensington from 10 to 3 each Saturday, the Fair Food Farmstand is fully stocked over at Reading Terminal, and you can still find local produce at Weavers Way and Green Aisle Grocery. Keep an eye out for these…