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


It’s Memorial Day weekend and the big news is strawberries! Now’s your chance to make that American flag cake that people seem to make every Fourth of July, using berries picked in California. True, it’s too early for local blueberries for the stars portion of the stars-and-stripes, but imperfect flag cake is still cake, am I right? Plus, if you’re entertaining this weekend, there are plenty of other reasons to pay a visit to the farmer’s market. There are still bunches of asparagus around for grilling, along with hot house tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplants, and lots of the following…

Arugula – Tell that cheeseburger to brace itself, because the salad green of this week isn’t lettuce, it’s juicy, peppery arugula. So many farms will have it this week that we won’t even bother to list them. Just know that when you head to market you should look for feathery little baby varieties, big bunched greens, and the whole spectrum in between.

Braising Greens – The baby greens of early spring have grown into, um, grown-up greens and though they’re too big to eat as a salad they make a perfect blend for braising. What’s nicest about them is that the different varieties of mustards, mizuna, kale, chard, or even beet greens makes for a tasty sauté with a balance of bitter, spicy, and sweet flavors. Look for them on the table at Taproot Farm (Chestnut Hill).

Broccoli Raab & Flowering Broccoli – You might think of broccoli as a cool weather crop, but now’s the time for bitter, juicy broccoli raab from Blooming Glen (Headhouse) and flowering broccoli from Taproot Farm (Chestnut Hill). Blanch either and serve them cool, simply dressed with olive oil and flaky salt and they’ll be right at home at your barbecue spread, especially if you’re grilling up some sausages, too.

Sea Beans – Typically the purview of restaurant chefs, sea beans are one of those trendy ingredients that you might only have seen at restaurants–except that Primordia Mushroom Farm is bringing some to the Chestnut Hill market. Also called samphire, these little green “beans” are actually a succulent grass with a snap a bit like a fresh green bean. Try them in a salad to add snap, or cook them the way you might haricots vets or skinny asparagus.

Red & Green Cabbage – Coleslaw! Need I say more? Look for colorful cabbages on the table at Landisdale Family Farm at the Clark Park and Chestnut Hill markets.

Fresh Mozzarella – If you’re grilling at all this weekend, you’re probably already planning a trip to Headhouse to stock up on Griggstown Quail Farms’ turkey burgers and chicken sausages. While you’re there be sure and ask for some of their fresh mozzarella, too.

Frozen Treats – Not gonna make the flag cake with just stripes? That’s okay, because Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream (Rittenhouse, Headhouse), Lil Pop Shop (Rittenhouse) and Jenny & Frank’s Artisan Gelato (Bryn Mawr) are all bringing serious celebration to their respective farmers markets in the form of frozen confections with seasonal flavors.