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

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Now that Pope Francis has made his visit and moved on, the farmer’s markets are back on track for the weekend ahead. A week off means that more summer fruits and vegetables have made their departures, autumn has officially arrived, and, along with this rain, the season for baking, braising, and roasting has officially begun.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens…

Spaghetti Squash – Slow-roast some lingering tomatoes alongside thus stringy squash, hit it with harissa, or souse the thing with curry and coconut. Please, just do something to give this mild squash a boost. Roasted to a pleasant stringiness, kind of like angel hair, it’s a healthy option, but it’s not as intensely sweet as most winter squash, so it needs a hand in the flavor department. Prepare your strategy and pick some up from Taproot Farm (Chestnut Hill) or Urban Girls Produce (Clark Park).

Potatoes, Galore – You’ll find potatoes of all different colors and levels of sweetness and starchiness at markets these days. Conventional potatoes are typically heavy on the pesticide use, but Savoie Organic Farm (Headhouse) and Landisdale Family Farm (Clark Park, Rittenhouse) both grow absolutely beautiful potatoes using completely organic methods.

Arlet Apples – Honeycrisp apples take top billing these days, but Arlet or Swiss Gourmet apples could unseat them with a little more marketing behind them. The variety is a cross between Idared and Golden Delicious apples, with a balanced flavor and a pleasantly crunchy, flesh that holds its shape well during cooking. Not as transparently sweet and juicy as honeycrisps, their flavor is a little rounder. Pick some up from Beechwood and Three Springs Fruit Farm, both at Headhouse.

Seckle Pears – Small, and a dusty orange brown, sequel pears are the smallest of the widely-cultivated pear varieties. They’re cute as a button and a pleasure to eat out of hand in just a few bites. Besides that, these little cuties have firm flesh which means that they hold up beautifully whether you toss them into a salad, or peel and either pickle or poach them. Pick some up from Frecon Farm at the Rittenhouse and Clark Park markets.

Italian Prune Plums – Since they ripen later than many other stone fruits, it’s not too late to get your hands on prune plums from Beechwood Orchards (Headhouse, Rittenhouse). Small, with dark purple skin and yellow flesh, they’re great for baking as well as eating out of hand. Hurry though. Even they won’t be around for long.