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


In the dead of winter, a single fresh, new item at the farmer’s market is a thrill. This time of year finds us squarely on the other side of that. There are so many exciting new additions each week that we can scarcely keep up the reporting of their arrival, much less cram each into our shopping baskets. The cherries are winding down, but the blueberries are coming on strong as are all of these other beauties.

Shishito & Padron Peppers – These small, thin-walled green peppers look like they could be deathly spicy, but for the most part they’re actually quite mild (though every once in a while you’ll find a hot one). Still, it’s worth picking up a pint and keeping your fingers crossed, because these peppers, blistered in a hot pan and tossed with a little salt, are addictive as a pre-dinner snack or part of a spread of Spanish tapas. Look for them at both Happy Cat and Root Mass farms at Headhouse this weekend.

Sweet Onions – Walla Walla onions and sweet, torpedo-shaped Tropea onions have arrived, some with greens still attached, others ready to go as-is. Summer’s sweet onions are uncured, which means that they lack the papery outer layers of the onions you’ll find the rest of the year. It also means that you should keep them in the fridge. Mild and juicy, they make a great addition to slaws and salads. Look for several varieties from Landisdale (Clark Park).

Gooseberries & Currants– Both members of the “ribe” family of fruits, these fruits look like little jewels, shiny and semi translucent. Three Springs Fruit Farm (Headhouse) has delicate threads of red, white and pink champagne currants, as well as three shades of gooseberries. All of these fruits are truly tart, with the gooseberries being slightly sweeter, and while many people like to make preserves or pies with them, they’re also exceptionally refreshing, tart and juicy, right out of the fridge.

Broccoli – It’s big, green, and almost everybody likes it. Trade out wintry preparations like soup and use summer’s broccoli in salads and even pestos. Pick up some at Clark Park from Quaff Meadows.

Watermelons – The first of the sugar baby watermelons have arrived! AT Buzby farm has them available at Headhouse. Juicy and dense, this variety is a little smaller than some, which means that with a few bowls of chilled watermelon cubes and a batch of margaritas you’ll have no trouble getting through a whole one.

Pluots – These plum-apricot hybrids have a rosy translucence and a sweet, tart flavor that is somewhere between that of their parents. Look for them from Frecon Farm (Rittenhouse, Bryn Mawr) and from Beechwood Orchards (Rittenhouse).