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


This time of year there are few surprises at weekly farmer’s markets. You can pretty much count on the carrots, the potatoes, and the apples at the moment, but beyond the parsnips there are few things that inspire great anticipation or excitement until we creep considerably closer to springtime. That’s why, in the midst of cold weather and gray days, it is so exciting when there are actual surprises. And this week, even in the dead of winter, a few area growers have some surprisingly green midwinter additions to the farmer’s market spread.

Claytonia, Mâche, and Chickweed – This year, non-profit Urban Tree Connection has been making a few appearances at the Rittenhouse farmer’s market and this winter they’re focusing on season extension growing at their Philadelphia farm. As a result, they’ll be bringing to Rittenhouse tomorrow a dose of bright green in shades that we typically don’t see until springtime. Claytonia and chickweed are both frequently wild-foraged, delicate leafy greens with a juicy chew to add some interest to winter salads. Additionally, they’re also bringing mâche, a salad green often called “corn salad” or “lamb’s lettuce” for it’s tender texture and pleasant, sweet flavor. Look for these and other greens like spinach and perhaps even some fresh herbs.

Microgreens– Taproot Farm raises beautiful vegetables year round to sell at the Chestnut Hill market, but this winter their microgreens are a particularly welcome sight. Microgreens are simply the tender young versions of familiar vegetables or herbs: basil, cilantro, rainbow chard, beets, and even juicy sunflower shoots. Because they’re in a period of rapid growth, microgreens have also been shown to be more nutritionally dense than their grown-up vegetable counterparts, so they’re a great way to add a nutritional boost to your meals.

Lacinato Kale & Collard Greens – Rineer Family Farm has also got greens going strong at the Rittenhouse market. Look for their kale and collard greens to cook into warming soups or stews, or pick up a bag of their salad mix, cultivated in their on farm hoophouses, to add something fresh to the mix.