The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend
While midwinter farmer’s markets lack the variety of the summer months, you can’t really argue with tables that still overflow with parsnips, potatoes, winter squash, and coolers of grass-fed beef, local dairy, and hand-made breads and baked goods. Plus, you can always add variety to your shopping trip by visiting a new-to-you market in a neighborhood not your own. This weekend boasts plenty of opportunities: Bryn Mawr (10-Noon), Chestnut Hill (10-Noon), Rittenhouse (10-2), Fitler Square (9-2) and Clark Park (10-2). A shortage of local food in winter? I think not.
Turnips – Earthy and sharp, turnips lend tang to any potato dish you like, plus they’re super nutritious, high in vitamin C and trace minerals like manganese. No, they’re never the prettiest vegetables at the party, but they’re steadfast. Swathed in a little butter or cream, they’ll keep you company for the rest of the winter. Look for purple-topped or scarlet varieties from Landisdale at Clark Park, or get to Bryn Mawr early to snag a bunch of delicately-flavored hakurei turnips from Two Gander.
Cider – Eden Garden (Clark Park) and Hands on the Earth (Rittenhouse) are still pressing cloudy, sweet, tangy cider–perfect for cocktail mixing or deglazing a pan of pastured pork chops.
Microgreens – The persistent sweetness of many long-keeping winter veggies like parsnips, carrots, and squash, while pleasant, can also be a little bit boring once their novelty has worn off. Wake things up with peppery microgreens from Blue Moon Acres at the Fair Food Farmstand. Micros, a favorite among chefs for garnish potential, also happen to be nutritional powerhouses that add the kind of vitality to a winter lineup that you just won’t get from storage crops.
Pecans – Looking for something special? Try locally-grown pecans from Livengood at the Clark Park Market. Milky and sweet out of the shell, these thin skinned beauties are tough to find.