Sunday, October 09, 2011

Vendors Crowd Headhouse

More vendors sold their goods at the Headhouse Square Farmers Market today than any other Sunday so far this season. Katy Wich, who manages the market for The Food Trust, said 34 different vendors showed up today, including one new one, PorcSalt, which has been an occasional vendor at the Rittenhouse Saturday market this year.

With produce tables groaning under the weight of apples, squashes, potatoes and other harvest goodies, it's my favorite time of year to wander farmers' markets.

Because the larder's rather well-stocked at home, my purchases were minimal. The only "must" item on my list was apples.

And what a selection! Three Springs, Beechwood and North Star all offered great variety, most priced at $2 to $2.50 a pound -- more than what you'd pay at the supermarket, but all fresh-picked off the tree.

Esopus Spitzenberg apple
My big score was an Espopus Spitzenberg. This apple holds a special place in my heart, but not merely because it tastes so good (definitely on the tart side, but enough sugar to balance it out, plus a crisp, dense flesh). No, it's among my favorites because its named for the creek (Esopus) where I used to swim -- or at least get into the icy cold water -- during family vacations in the northern Catskills, in the Big Indian-Oliveria valley. This apple, great for out-of-hand eating or baking, was available today from North Star. Of all the apples offered by North Star this week, it's the one true antique. It was reputed to be one of Thomas Jefferson's favorite.

Over at Beechwood Orchards, Dave Garrettson offered another American antique, the Northern Spy. Although it can be enjoyed as a dessert apple, i.e., eaten out-of-hand, and is an excellent storage variety, it's highest use is in pies. Since my available kitchen time this week is extremely limited, I reluctantly passed these beauties by.

Instead, I picked up some Macouns, Winesaps and the latter's even tastier offspring, Stayman, all from Beechwood.

Of course, if you're stocking apples for plain eating, you've got to get some cheese as an accompaniment. For that part of the equation I stopped by Sue Miller's Birchrun Hills Farm stall where I picked up her Red Cat. This is a washed-rind cheese, slightly pungent (most washed rind cheeses are stinkier) and creamy.

The main course for tonight's dinner also came from Sue: bockwurst, a traditional German sausage traditionally all-veal or mostly veal with a bit of pork. I'll cook it tonight with sauerkraut braised in unpasteurized apple cider mixed with mustard, maybe throwing in some carraway seeds. Which reminds me, gotta put some beer in the fridge. Although mashed potatoes would be the ideal side, I picked up some rye bread from Ric's.

1 comment:

Lisa at North Star Orchard said...

...and this weekend, there's the 400-year-old American Classic, Golden Russet. Awesome!

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