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


Do you guys know what the forecast is going to be for tomorrow? I’ll tell you. The high is 19° and the low is a whopping 7°F. What does that feel like? It feels awful. It feels like your boogers freezing inside your nose. It feels like brain-freeze, except it’s your whole body and there’s no ice cream. It’s about as bad as it gets around here. Area farmers will, nevertheless, be staffing the farmer’s markets at Rittenhouse Square (10:00-2:00), Clark Park (10:00-2:00), Fitler Square (9:00-2:00), and Chestnut Hill (10:00-Noonish), so you practically owe it to them to go buy some vegetables. Posted hours aside, if business is slow and the weather is awful some farms might pack up early, so this is definitely an instance to go earlier rather than later. Also? It happens to be Valentine’s Day on Sunday and sweetheart or no, you should probably cook something nice.

Porcini Mushrooms– Central Italy’s famous “pig-like” mushrooms are available locally, either frozen or dried, through Primordia at both the Clark Park and Chestnut Hill Markets. These richly-flavored mushrooms are the perfect V-Day splurge if you’re looking for something local to make a special meal that is also vegetarian. Roast a few of the frozen ones, use the dried ones as the foundation for a rich mushroom stock, and then make a risotto with that. Top it off with the roasted mushrooms and you’ve got a meal sure to impress.

A Box of Chocolates – It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is a holiday for sweets, and this is a great time of year to patronize the John & Kira’s table at the Rittenhouse Market. John and Kira’s chocolates are made right here in Philadelphia and they’re filled with all manner of flavored caramels and ganaches spiked with locally-grown mint, berries, and spices. Go for single varieties or a mix for that good, old-fashioned Whitman’s sampler experience.

Goat Cheese Hearts – If your Valentine prefers the savory to the sweet, or if you’re simply looking to treat yourself, pick up one of the fresh heart-shaped goat cheeses from Shellback Hollow. Every year for Valentine’s Day cheesemaker Pete Demchur molds some of his snowy chèvre into hearts, and dusts them with either citrusy pink peppercorn or lavender herbes de Provence. Shellback will have both tomorrow Rittenhouse.

Fresh Bay Leaves – If part of your Valentine’s Day strategy involves braising meat of some kind, you should definitely stop by the table at Brogue Hydroponics at the Fitler Square market. They’ve got fresh bay leaves for sale. Fresh bay is fantastically aromatic and the leaves, stored properly, keep in the fridge for months and in the freezer even longer. You’ll notice that fresh bay leaves have an intense flavor and a strong, almost eucalyptus-like aroma, so be careful not to overdo it.