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

“It’s the moist wonderful tiiime of the yeeeear,” croons Headhouse farmers market manager Lisa Kelly. “Cooler nights and it’s not a million degrees anymore.” Even better, for Kelly, is the fact that for the next several weeks we’ll be able to enjoy the magical moment where we have all the flavors of summer, the tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and the dazzling array of fruit, in addition to the now arriving fall crops as well. The newcomers to markets already abundant are…

Chanterelles – Wild chanterelle season is extremely brief, and we probably won’t see more than a week or so of these golden orange beauties. They’re tough to find locally, but skilled area foragers are managing to dig some up. Look for them from Primordia at the Chestnut Hill market and if you find them don’t flinch at the price per pound. This is the kind of gold that is well worth it.

Purslane – A weed that has the lovely distinction of also being extremely healthy, this succulent plant has juicy stalks and leaves extremely high in vitamin A and those omega-3 fatty acids you’ve been hearing about. Urban Girls at Clark Park and Queen’s Farm at Headhouse have each been selling it. It would make for a pretty dense salad on its own, but chop it into a grain or a bean salad. It’s lemony flavor and snappy crunch work nicely in either.

New Apples – Each week brings new hues of fruit as apple season begins its slow crescendo. Look for snappy red zestar and mildly-tart ginger golds from Hands on the Earth (Clark Park), and everyone’s favorite, Honeycrisps from Beechwood (Rittenhouse) and Fahnestock Fruit Farm (Chestnut Hill).

Winter Squash – Alongside the zucchini, pattypans, and yellow squash this week you’ll also find the first of the firm-fleshed winter varieties as well. Stringy-fleshed spaghetti squash from Pennypack Farm (Clark Park), and sweet, dense butternut and acorn squash from Wimer’s Organics (Bryn Mawr) and Margerum’s Herbs (Clark Park).

Concord Grapes – Plenty of different local grape varietals are rolling in these days, but the crown jewel for intense, sweet and sour flavor remains the concord from Livengood Family Farm at Clark Park. You’ll find both seeded and seedless varieties available from different market vendors. If you have strong feelings about seeds either way be sure to ask the grower which you’re dealing with.

Turnips & Turnip Greens – Nope. Turnips are never going to be the sexy, top billing new farmer’s market addition, but they’re endearingly juicy and versatile, so we shouldn’t ignore them either. Weavers Way (Headhouse) has creamy white hakurei turnips available, and Homestead Garden (Clark Park – Thursday) has their juicy greens.