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


Welcome to global warming and wearing tank tops in mid-October. Despite the lingering warmth and occasional humidity, on the agricultural side of things at least we’re marching resolutely onward, into autumn, even if we can keep showing off the guns while we do it…

Broccoli & Broccoli Raab – I have a theory about broccoli.  Add a handful of steamed or roasted broccoli or sautéed broccoli raab to nearly any meal and it’s instantly righteous.  Meatball sub (even from Wawa) with a side of broccoli? Match made in heaven. Take out pizza plus broccoli? Balanced dinner! Boxed mac and cheese and broccoli? That’s practically home cooking! Save yourself from yourself with some broccoli raab from Wimer’s Organics at Bryn Mawr, from Rineer Family Farm and Landisdale Farm at  Chestnut Hill, and from Hilltop Farm at Rittenhouse.

Sugar Snap Peas – A brief hurrah of springtime in autumn, Root Mass farm will have sweet peas available at Headhouse!

Sunchokes – Also called Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are the roots of a kind of sunflower. They look like a cross between ginger root and knobby little potatoes, and they have a texture reminiscent of both water chestnut and potato. You’ll see them all over town on restaurant menus because their milky, earthy flavor is a favorite among chefs. Just to get a little science-y for a moment, sunchokes are also very low on the glycemic index – meaning that they won’t spike blood sugar – but they’re also high in inulin, a kind of fiber that our bodies can’t break down but that the bacteria in our gut LOVE. This makes them a “prebiotic,” which basically means that they’re an ideal food for our gut bacteria. Score! Try some from Beechwood Orchards (Rittenhouse, Headhouse, N3rd).

Brussels Sprouts – Despite the fact that brussels have gone the way of kale in terms of trendiness, anything this well suited to bacon would be difficult to not look forward to. Pick some up from Tom Culton at Headhouse or at Shenks Farm at Clark Park.

Sweet Potato Leaves – A brand new treat for even seasoned vegetable eaters, the Urban Nutrition Initiative will have sweet potato leaves at Clark Park this weekend. The leaves themselves are heart shaped and they wilt down in a hot skillet into a silky tangle, much like spinach, but they lack the trademark bitter astringency that greens high in oxalic acid – spinach, chard, etc. – can have.

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