Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Fish

John Yi, the center court fishmonger at the Reading Terminal Market, has added a fine array of swimmable food for Feast of the Seven Fishes celebrations. Although baccala could not be found, there was plenty of fresh cod, octopus, squid (whole as well as cleaned and separated), as well as herrings ($3.99/pound for either large for smaller sardine-sized specimens), smelt ($4.99) and spearling ($3.99).

Giant oranges are traditional holiday fare, too. The Fair Food Farmstand was selling organic varieties from Florida for $1.50 apiece; the prices for similar conventionally-grown large oranges were only slightly less dear at Iovine Brothers where tangelos seemed the best deal in orange-type fruits, at six for $1. Juice oranges and small navels were twice that price.

Also at Iovine, Hass avocados from Mexico were down to 89-cents apiece; alas, if you want to make guacamole, the limes (and lemons) remain pricey at three for a buck. Iovines was selling organic Granny Smith applies for 99-cents a pound, the same as for many conventional varieties, including Grannies, Staymans, Red Delicious, etc.

Back at Fair Food, a split open sample of watermelon radish was drawing attention from passersby who had never seen them before. As always there was an interesting collection of winter squashes, varyingly priced about $1.50-$2.00 a pound, including Blue Hubbard and Turban.

Dwain Livengood was back at his family's Saturday stall helping out before he and his wife Audrey leave for a year in Honduras volunteering at a Christian home for children. They spent this past week in Florida at a training course, where Dwain learned the wonders of the Moringa tree, which can grow in subtropical climates with poor soils and can be used as food (its leaves offer complete protein), animal feed and fuel; its powdered seeds (in the form of defatted meal) can be placed into a container of turbid water and will remove 99 percent of the sediment and organic impurities. Alas, it can't withstand Lancaster County winters, so don't expect to see Moringa tree products at the Livengood farm stand.

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