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


Along with more Autumnal splendor, this Sunday evening is anticipated to bring our coldest temperatures yet, with maybe even the possibility of a hard freeze. Whether or not things unfold that way, it’s a fair assumption that this weekend will mean a hard stop to certain lingering summer flavors like tomatoes and peppers. The good news is that there’s plenty of good stuff to replace them on market tables. Here’s what you need to know for this weekend’s slightly more bundled-up trip to the farmer’s market.

Onions – Get excited, people! This year’s onions (and shallots) have arrived at farmer’s markets! Technically a summer crop, onions, once harvested, cure to a golden (or purple) papery finish so they can be stored and sold into the fall and beyond. Why spring for the farmer’s market onion over those from the supermarket? Well, variety for one thing. Stop by Three Springs (Headhouse) for squat cippolini onions, or Landisdale Farm (Chestnut Hill, Clark Park) for sweet onions like Walla Walla and Candy, or the thin-layered, oblong Tropea variety.

Bratwurst – The perfect foil for braised cabbage and the first batch of mashed potatoes of the season, Canter Hill Farm is debuting pork bratwurst, their newest sausage offering, this weekend at the Chestnut Hill and Bryn Mawr markets. Get that Oktoberfest celebration in while you still can!

Radishes – Normally we associate radishes with peas and asparagus, part of the line-up of springtime favorites, but they do well in fall, too. Two Gander Farm has several varieties at the Bryn Mawr Market, or stop by Taproot Farm at the Chestnut Hill market to try purple daikon radishes. Big and burly, they have light purple skins, but cut them in a cross section and you’ll see a ring of white and a burst of bright purple at the center, too.

Bosc Pears – You can still find tender-skinned bartlett pears at markets, but the burly, long keeping bosc pears are coming into season as well. Bosc pears never soften in the obvious the way other varieties do. They’re more subtle, remaining firm even when fully ripe (so don’t, ahem, go jamming your thumb into every one you see at the market looking for soft ones). This firmness makes them an elegant foil for hard cheeses, and means that they stand up beautifully to poaching or baking. Look for them at Beechwood Orchards at both the Rittenhouse and Headhouse markets.