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

As always, new items are appearing at farmer’s markets, but this week new markets themselves are cropping up, too. Check out The Food Trust’s newest market in front of the YMCA at 18th and Christian next Wednesday from 3 til 7.

This weekend you can expect to see a shift towards summer. Supplies of seedlings will begin to die down, so if you haven’t gotten a tomato plant or two into the ground the time is now! Expect supplies of spring favorites like asparagus and rhubarb to be dwindling this week, giving way to the following summer favorites…

Cucumbers – The first spiky cucumbers have arrived! Let the salad bonanza (or the Pimm’s Cup Bonanza, if that’s more your speed) begin! Find them from 2 Gander Farm at the Bryn Mawr Market, or from Chester County-based Berry Patch Farm at the Fountain Farmer’s Market.

LeeksGreensgrow Farm Market in Kensington will have the first leeks of the year at their market. If you only think of leeks in the wintry context of soup, try halving them,  rinsing out any sand, and then chucking them, flat side down, on the grill. Smoky, oniony, and delicious!

Head Lettuce & Escarole – Fluffy heads of romaine, butter lettuces, and escarole are starting to show up from Blooming Glen and  A.T. Buzby farms. Make like a head lettuce and “leaf” the farmer’s market with one.

Garlic Scapes – Not to be confused with spring garlic, which look like beefy scallions, garlic scapes are the immature seed heads of the garlic shoot. Think stems with flower buds before they’ve bloomed. Instead of allowing the garlic to bloom and go to seed, farmers clip these juicy stems off, which forces the plant to direct growing energy towards the garlic bulb instead. The process ensures that we’ll have fat heads of garlic to buy at market later in the season. For now, chop and use scapes just like you would a clove of garlic, or cut them into segments to pickle or grill. They have a mild garlic flavor and a juicy, crunchy texture not unlike a green bean. Beechwood Orchards  will have them at the Rittenhouse and Fairmount markets and Savoie Organic Farm will have them at Headhouse.

Pea Shoots – Earlier in the year, you might have seen delicate, sweet little pea shoots amidst the microgreens for sale here and there. Though perfectly tasty at that point in the season, they’re so tender that it is silly to do much with them beyond eating them raw. This week though you’ll be able to get your sauté on, because Queen’s Farm has big tangles of mature pea shoots ready for wilting.

Find something great at your local market? Instagram it and tag accordingly: @foobooz #fooboozthedirt