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

Photo via Soup Cleanse

It’s officially soup season, people. Not only is soup the perfect warming food for cold weather, it’s also filling and healthy if you’re watching your waistline. If, instead, you’re watching your grocery bill in the face of those post-holiday credit card statements, it also happens to be a handy way to stretch ingredients into multiple meals. Sure, you could pick up some ready-made soups from Good Spoon at the Rittenhouse Market, but for maximum warmth you should make your own featuring some of the following locally-grown goodies.

Carrots & Sweet Potatoes – Even on a gray day, a sunny bowl of soup made with carrots or sweet potatoes can offer a little sunshine (along with a healthy dose of beta carotene). You can find Rineer Family Farm’s table loaded with these and other stalwart root veggies and tubers at the Rittenhouse and Chestnut Hill markets, and from Two Gander Farm at Bryn Mawr.

Fresh Chicken & Stewing Hens – The perfect bird for the penicillin that is chicken soup is an older bird with lots of flavor. For soup, pick up a stewing hen from Taproot Farm at Chestnut Hill, but while you’re there don’t miss out on the chance to also pick up a fresh young bird from Canter Hill Farm. Tomorrow they’re bringing their last batch of fresh birds until spring!

Winter Squash – While many recipes call for basic butternut, you can make a velvety squash soup with almost any kind of winter squash. Several area vendors still boast a supply of these thick-skinned squash. For the easiest soup making experience, opt for a big hubbard, cheese pumpkin, or kabocha instead of delicate little acorns or delicatas. Peel it, cube it, roast it, and puree with some stock for a beauty of a bowl.

Beef Stew Meat & Bone Broth – Rineer Family Farm raises grass-fed beef in addition to all of the lovely vegetables and preserves that they bring to the Rittenhouse and Chestnut Hill markets. Pick-up a few packages of beef cubes and cook up a silky stew. Or, head to Clark Park for some of Livengood Family Farm’s rich beef bone broth.

Cremini Mushrooms – Creminis are essentially portobello mushrooms a few sizes smaller, and while we love frilly maitakes, chewy oysters, and the meatiness of fresh shiitakes, the best mushroom soup comes from humble little cremini mushrooms, or even their white button brethren. Brushed off, sliced (stems and all), and deeply caramelized, these are worthy of the old school treatment of a glug of sherry and a little cream. Look for creminis on the table at Davidson Exotics at Rittenhouse and Bryn Mawr.

Bread – What is soup without a little bread or a sandwich alongside? Pick up a wedge of focaccia, a baguette or a few rolls from Wildflour Bakery, or a gluten-free loaf from Amaranth, both at Rittenhouse.