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


Hey, guys! Guess what’s for dinner?

Birdsong, sunshine and flowers blooming? Get ready for the Disney version of Spring, because here it comes. Rittenhouse is back up to its full complement with more than 20 vendors at tomorrow’s market, the University Square Market is back up and running every Wednesday, Chestnut Hill returns to regular summer hours in just two weeks, and Headhouse opens in time for strawberry season on May first. For now, think of this as your springtime speed round, all the best of the moment and where to find them before they fade.

Radishes – Not that you needed another excuse to eat butter, but Two Gander Farm at the Bryn Mawr market is bringing juicy radishes to market this weekend. Eat them as the French do with butter and sea salt, shave them finely to top salads, or quarter them and toss with lime juice as the perfect accompaniment to tacos.

Ramps, Watercress, Fiddlehead Ferns, and Chickweed– Wild edibles are going strong and you’ll find them at markets all over. Though ramps, springtime’s trendiest new arrival, command premium pricing, splurging on a few of these wild leeks is worth it for their distinctive onion flavor. In addition, look for stems of juicy watercress and the small, teardrop-shaped leaves of chickweed. Chickweed can be eaten raw or cooked, though cooked it gets a little stringy. Raw, it has a sweet, corn-like flavor that makes it a pleasant addition to salads.

Spring Cheeses – Fresh green grass means more milk means fresh new cheeses! Stop by the Shellbark Hollow Farm table at either Rittenhouse or Bryn Mawr to taste their line-up of spring cheeses including a fresh goat milk ricotta, Aurora’s Cloud, a little, bloomy-rind biscuit, or Blooming Ash, an aged crottin rubbed with a layer of ash. In two weeks, when they return to market, stop by the Valley Milkhouse table at Chestnut Hill to taste their Clover, fromage blanc rolled in honey and chamomile.

Pastured Lamb – Start planning your Passover feast and pick-up a leg of lamb. Canter Hill Farm at Chestnut Hill or Bryn Mawr is offering a $2 per pound discount off of their pasture-raised lamb including ground, cubes, and whole legs as well.

Spring Onions – Spring’s first scallions are growing more robust. Look for spring onions, bunches of white onions with the scallion greens still attached, at Clark Park from Landisdale, and at Chestnut Hill from Rineer Family Farm. If they’re still tender, use the greens as you might scallion greens and the bulbs themselves as you might a sweet onion. Halved and grilled, flat side down, they’re especially juicy and delicious.