The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmer’s Market This Weekend

Look, we know that while you were checking your kids’ Halloween candy “for safety” you were really just siphoning off mini Kit-Kat bars and Junior Mints for yourself.  Shame on you. Go eat some vegetables.

Right now!

Parsnips They may look like carrots that Bunnicula had his way with, but parsnips are their own cool-weather crop entirely. Though similar in flavor to carrots, they’re starchier, denser, and not as juicy. Not usually the kind of thing you’d like to eat raw, but roast or puree them and they have  a balanced vegetal sweetness–like a carrot’s older,  better-read cousin.

Celeriac There’s no way around it: Celeriac is perhaps the ugliest single vegetable at the market. A relative of the stem celery ubiquitous in most cold-season chicken soup recipes, celeriac is a variety prized for its dense, aromatic roots instead. They are round, with a lumpy, warty appearance, a scattering of little roots clinging to their bottoms, and sometimes, a shock of what you might recognize as stubby green celery at the top. Get past their ghoulish exterior, however (and you’ll need a merciless chef’s knife to help you do it) and they have a clean, bright celery flavor without the wateriness or bitterness that stem celery sometimes has. Add them to a pureed vegetable soup, or grate them raw into a slaw or a classic celery root remoulade.

Fresh Dill is abundant at the moment and with gorgeous yellow flowers, to boot.  It’s not too late to put up some pickles, like dilly carrots or brussels sprouts, or make a batch of gravlax for a weekend brunch.

Keep your eyes out for….

Delicata Squash Look for these small, green-freckled, oblong squash. Not only do they have a great nutty flavor, but their skins are thin enough that you don’t have to peel them! They’re charming halved and stuffed, or sliced into half-moons and roasted.

Watermelon Radishes just look like big, green radishes, but cut them open and you’ll be astonished by their bright magenta hue. Julienned they make a cheap, yet cheerful, addition to salads or scattered atop stir-fried noodles.