Tuesday, January 19, 2010
It may have been cold enough to shiver, and the snow may have eventually piiled two feet high, but that didn't stop vendors and customers from trudging to the Clark Park Farmers' Market Dec. 19.
Jon Glyn, who manages the market for the Food Trust and supplied the photo at right, reports five vendors, including one from Bradford County and two from Lancaster, made the snowy trek to the year-round Saturday market.
They included Earl Livengood (whose brussels sprouts are veing investigated by a neighborhood pooch in the photo) of Lancaster, Slow Rise Bakery of Lancaster, Hail's Dairy of Wyalusing in Bradford County, Urban Girls Produce, and Honest Tom's Taco Truck.
Paul Hail, according to Glyn, left his dairy farm in the north central part of the state to beat out the storm, arriving at Clark Park at 4 a.m., pulling out his sleeping bag to get some Zs before the opening bell. Brian Hernon experienced a fender bender (literally) in driving in his baked goods from Lancaster, but no one was hurt.
Honest Tom brought along a firepit. To fuel it, he and Gina Humphreys of Urban Girl gathered what firewood could be found in the park. Earl Livengood donated to chestnuts to roast along the edge of the fire, passing them out to customers.
The Food Trust's farmers' market staff prides itself on showcasing the best of local produce. As Glyn quipped about that day, "Even our firewood's local"
Sunday, November 15, 2009
The black dirt farm country of Orange County, New York, is ideal for growing onions. And Iovine Brothers Produce has them at the Reading Terminal Market. Yesterday Iovine's was selling two-pound bags of either yellow or red onions from that growing area for $1 a bag.
Also spied at Iovine's: Chilean avocados, two for $1.49; Brussels sprouts stalks, $1.99; red bell peppers, $1.49, which was less expensive than the green, orange or yellow bells, all $1.99; limes continued to be obtainable at a dime apiece.
Brussels sprouts stalks (they called them "trees" at Iovines) were available from some of the other farm vendors: $7.50 at Fair Food, $4.95-$5.95 at Earl Livengood's.
Fair Food featured what might be the last of the seasons local tomatoes, pints of organic cherry tomatoes for $4.50. The poblano peppers, $4.50/pound, looked good.
At Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce celery stalks were $1.99 ($2.49 for hearts). Livengood's celery and celeriac were both priced at $3.95/pound.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
When I think of Jujubes, I think of the tiny gummy candies from Heide's I would buy during my pre-adolescent years at the Saturday matinees at the Elmora Theater in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where I saw such classics as "X the Unknown" and "The Blob".
Little did I know there was another Jujube, which I found recently at Iovine Brothers' Produce at the Reading Termninal Market (photo top right). Unlike the sweet, sugary little pellets of my childhood, these Jujubes are alleged to have medicinal properties, as well as a more adult taste. They somewhat resemble dates and, indeed, are sometimes called Red Dates or Chinese Dates, though their origin is probably India. They have a wonderful scientific name: Ziziphus zizyphus. For those interested here's the Wikipedia entry.
The kaffir limes (photo at right) are also purportedly medicinal and are primarily used in Southeast Asian and Indonesian cuisines, frequently in a curry paste. They are also available at Iovine's.
With the coming of winter (it sure seems close with our recent weather) Iovine's is bringing in more citrus fruit. This past week Valencia oranges were available in bags at a bargain price of $1.99 for a four-pound bag. Tangerines were six for a buck, and Florida navels were five for $2. Cara Cara oranges were 3 for $1. Limes were a bit less pricey today, 5 for a buck. Lemons were 3/$1, but they were heavy with juice. After a hiatus of a week or so, red and green cactus pears are back in stock.
Figs remain available, at least those from California. A pint box of about a dozen brown figs was selling for $4.99 at Iovines. Chile, which dominates the out-of-season fruit market in Philadelphia, is expanding into avocados to compete with Mexico. Iovines was selling medium sized fruits this week, 2 for $1.49; smaller ones were in a separate bin for a quarter apiece.
For as long as I've been shopping there Iovines has sold tofu, but only the medium firm type they package into plastic containers in water. This week they expanded tofu offerings to include three or four additional firm and super firm versions, including a "tofu cutlet" ready for cooking. You can find them in the refrigerated cases by the Filbert Street checkout.
Unpasteurized cider is back in stock at Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce, available in pints and half-gallons. (In the past Ben Kauffman has also sold it in quarts; maybe he'll have those next week).
Kauffman's always has a nice selection of brassicas each fall, and this year is no exception, as demonstrated by the purple and white cauliflower, romanesco and broccoli in the photo at left.
One of the joys of Lancaster County in the fall is the appearance of local celery. Livingood's had them at the RTM this morning, $2 a bunch. The celery grown in Lancaster County is a tad less stalky and more leafy, but it's crispy freshness (versus the trans-continental California product) and deep green color make it welcome. I'll put some stalks on an old-fashioned relish tray, with a selection of olives, at dinner tonight. (Drat! I forgort to buy some fresh radishes to complete that tray.)
If we're lucky when we get closer to Thanksgiving we might see some white celery, which is the same thing as green celery except that the stalks are buried so they aren't exposed to light; the process is the same that produces white asparagus. This labor-intensive celery makes a wonderful side when braised in butter with a little white wine
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Local TV stations were scheduled to cover the crush of shoppers at the Reading Terminal Market during their morning shows today. Hundreds line up before the doors open at 8 a.m. the day before Thanksgiving.
In addition to the Pennsylvania Dutch merchants who made an early showing this week at the Reading Terminal Market, Earl Livengood was also there Tuesday and Wednesday (today). Among the many autumn produce stalwarts at Livengood's were romanescue heads of diminutive size, perfect for two eaters.
Arctic char made its appearance at John Yi's this week. The filets are selling for $14.99. Char is usually farm-raised in Canada and Iceland, and is considered to be considerably more environmentally benign than salmon aquaculture. Char, a salmonid, is somewhere between trout and salmon in size and flavor. Expect more fish variety at the market as we approach Christmas.
This past weekend busted all sorts of records for market visitors, according to RTM GM Paul Steinke, with the highest attendance seen since the Flower Show. Much of it was driven by Philadelphia marathon competitors and visitors.
Monday, November 03, 2008
As always, click on photo to enlarge
No doubt they'll also have them Tuesday afternoon
at South Street and Thursday afternoon in Fairmount.
Produce stand artfully arranged these samples of brassica:
cauliflower in three colors, broccoli and brussels sprouts.
Not pictured was Ben's romanescue.