Sunday, June 19, 2011

 Beechwood Orchards at Headhouse
Berries and  Cherries

Summer's bounty of  berries and cherries could be found at most markets this weekend.

Over at Beechwood Orchards at Headhouse I purchased $5/quart pie cherries, which I'll transfom into sherbet and/or cobbler. Beechwood also had them at Rittenhouse yesterday. Another stone fruit also made a Beechwood appearance, apricots, at $3.75/pint. Dave Garretson didn't have many, but expects more in coming weeks.

Beechwood's sweet cherries (red or the yellow-pink Rainiers) were $7/quart, compared to Three Springs Fruit Farm's $8 (two pint price) for reds. Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce sold reds Saturday for $6.99/pound, which translate to about $9/quart. His Queen Annes were pricier, at $7.99/pound.

(Garretson said he sells Rainiers rather than Queen Anne's because the latter are easy to "fingerprint," i.e., they bruise as soon as you pick them with your fingers.)

Blueberries from local growers are also in season, whether they come from the commercial (but nonetheless quite tasty) South Jersey growers ($3.75/pint, iirc) or farmers market vendors (about $5/pint).

Raspberries, both red and black, could also be purchased. Beechwood's cost $5 for a half-pint box. Some vendors still feature strawberries for $6-$7/quart.

Asparagus has disappeared for all practical puposes, but there are lots of other veggies to replace them. Summer squashes are abundant, and eggplant is now available, too -- $1 apiece for Sicilian or regular at A.T. Buzby's Headhouse stall today. Green and yellow string beans, sugar snap peas, sweet or English peas (shelled or still in the pod), garlic scapes, cucumbers (regular "garden" cukes, kirby cukes for pickling and "seedless" varieties. The last type makes fantastic "quick" Scandinavian style pickles to serve alongside cold salmon. Boiled new potatoes (also abundant at local markets) makes another excellent accompaniment to that salmon. And you've got lots of choice in greens for both cooking and salads. Beets and turnips are also widely available.

Leafy herbs -- parsley and cilantro among them -- are also easy to find now, as are spring onions.

If you can't wait another month, corn is available but you'll pay dearly. Buzby had white ears today priced at 75-cents apiece. I'll wait for peak season when even Tom Culton will occasionally sell his (including the mirai variety) at less than half that price.

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