The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend
Guess what’s new at the farmer’s market this weekend? Strawberries! Ha. Just kidding. You’ve been pranked. It’s not even April Fool’s Day, yet. What it is, is very nearly March and March is nothing if not the bleakest month of the year for locally grown food. While area farmer’s might be busily planning, ordering seeds and starting vegetable seedlings for the spring growing season, ain’t nothing ready to go into the ground out there yet. Still, the markets soldier on, loading and unloading the same potatoes, apples, and turnips every week for your perusal. This week we’re celebrating the gold stars of storage vegetables, not only the things that are available locally, but the best among those things. These are the vegetables that are going to see you through until the strawberries finally join the party in May.
Livengood’s Spinach – Juicy and sweet, all winter long, regular Clark Park shoppers rave about the spinach from Livengood’s, but it also happened that Livengood took home several best-in-show ribbons for their other vegetables at this year’s Pennsylvania Farm Show. Go pick up some juicy spinach and check out their prize-winning parsnips, pink skinned sweet potatoes, white skinned sweet potatoes, celeriac, and rutabaga at market this weekend, too.
Primordia’s Mushrooms – Between their selection of cultivated enoki, cremini, pioppino, oyster, lion’s mane, and shiitake mushrooms, plus fancy ones they bring in from further away, Primordia has both Clark Park and Chestnut Hill on lock in the mushroom department. Not only do theirs look absolutely flawless, but they have such a variety that it’s best to try types of mushrooms that you may have never had before.
Rineer’s Purple Potatoes – Lots of farms grow a purple variety of potatoes but we like Rineer’s the best because they tend to keep their deep purple hue, even after cooking. Look for these at the Rittenhouse Market.
Taproot’s Carrots – You might not make it to the Chestnut Hill market very often, but a treat if you go is Taproot Farm’s carrots. By this time of the year, many of the sugars present in stored carrots – those that read as impossibly sweet and fresh when the carrots are first pulled out of the ground, have converted to starch. Carrots in February and March, harvested last fall, are often a little bit bitter. Whatever Taproot is doing to prevent this is working though, as theirs have remained extra sweet all winter long.
Highland Orchards & Hands on the Earth’s Apples – Anybody who still has apples, saving us from this otherwise fruit-less season, is a favorite. Check out Hands on the Earth’s apples at Rittenhouse, where you can also get their cider and apple cider caramels. Or, if you’re really craving strawberries, go see Highland Orchards’ fruit at Fitler Square. They have some of their own dehydrated berries to get you through until May.