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

Some weeks it seems as though everything on the market table follows the parable that if it grows together, it goes together. Sweet potatoes and greens, tomatoes and corn, and berries alongside the tender leaves of spring. But late January markets can feel just the opposite, instead of blossoming cornucopias bursting with potential combinations they can represent an assortment of odds and ends and good luck to the cook. Your Mystery Box challenge this week, should you choose to accept it, includes the following…

Spinach – Juicy, lush, and healthy, pick up these tender greens from Livengood Family Farm at the Clark Park Market, or from Rineer Family Farm at either Chestnut Hill or Rittenhouse Square.

Black Radishes – Larger than the cherry-colored radishes of springtime, black radishes are often sold without their greens, in part because they’re long keepers, so you might mistake them for sinister looking beets. You may think you’ve never had a black radish, but they’ve become popular among chefs as garnish because of the contrast between their creamy white flesh and their matte black skin. Try them roasted, pickled or raw and look for them on the Landisdale table at Clark Park.

New Cheeses – A new addition to the offerings at the Clark Park Market, Primordia Mushroom has started bringing a few offerings from Valley Milkhouse Creamery in Oley Valley, because what could be more appropriate than mushrooms and cheese? Look for offerings like Blue Bell, a Roquefort-style, raw sheeps milk cheese, or Thistle, a Brie-style bloomy rind cheese made with cows milk.

Tat Soi – Taproot Farm is bringing dark green heads of this juicy, sweet bok choi relative to the Chestnut Hill market this weekend. Well-washed and stripped from their stalks, the leaves make for a toothsome salad, but they’re even better steamed or stir fried.

Hummus – A relatively new arrival to the local market circuit is Lancaster Hummus. This family-run shop from, you guessed it, Lancaster, specializes in hummus for people who, apparently, would rather eat buffalo wings. Look for flavors like Blazn’ Buffalo, Chipotle Black Bean, Chocolate Cherry, and Lemon Kale at the Rittenhouse Market.