Friday, November 02, 2007

Persimmons and cheese

Emily Teel of the Fair Food Farmstand is pushing the persimmons. They're grown by the same South Philly amateur orchardist who supplied the stand with figs about a month or so ago. Also at the farmstand, white cranberries. They are not a different variety, just an immature berry and, because of that, tarter, so add extra sugar. The white cranberries were selling for $6 a pint vs. $4.50 for the red.

Earl Livengood had fantastic red beets last week. They appear to be a similar variety to the cylindrical beets Benuel Kauffman sometimes features. I roasted Earl's in the oven (400F for about 50 minutes) and they are as sweet as any beet I've ever had.

Now's the season for pumpkin ravioli. Pasta By George has a nice pumpkin-riccotta version, though they aren't cheap: $10.99 for 12 raviolis (yielding two portions for an entree, four for appetizer course). I made a simple sage brown butter sauce for them.

Jeffrey Roberts, author of the Atlas of American Artisinal Cheese (Chelsea Green, White River Junction, Vermont, 464 pp, $35), was selling and signing copies of his book last Saturday in the same table spot formerly occupied by Green Valley Dairy, next to the Fair Food Farmstand. Roberts, a former Philadelphian who's been in Vermont doing his cheese thing, was fascinating to talk with. If anyone is interested in finding great American cheeses, or just has a hankering to learn more, buy this book. In it he profiles more than 350 American cheesemakers and includes info on how to order, whether on line, by phone or at the farmstand. He tells of one cheesemaker who sells her entire output only once a year at a Maryland sheep and wool gathering. Although it's designed as a reference book, it was pure pleasure to go through entire sections of the book, which is arranged geographically by region, and then by state. It opened me up to lots of new cheesemakers, and told me things I didn't know about some of my favorites. On my next trip to Wisconsin to visit the in-laws, I'm going to plan our excursions around this book!

Green Valley is among the cheesemakers profiled in the book, but they no longer sell direct to the customer at the market. However, you can purchase their cheese at the Fair Food Farmstand. The Amish producer is concentrating on restaurants and the wholesale business. If you haven't tried it, their Pennsylvania Noble is a wonderful cheddar.

Over at the former Foster's space, shelving and display units have been delivered for Amy's Kitchen, which hopes to open in its new space a week before Thanksgiving.

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