Saturday, May 19, 2007

Strawberries arrive

As you can see in the photos local strawberries made their first appearance this weekend. They were $4.95/pint at Benuel Kaufman's (top photo, with asparagus). The only other vendor selling local berries was Fair Food (bottom photo, along with snow peas and sugar snaps). Expect Earl Livengood and Iovine Brothers to have local berries in abundance next week.

Sometime in early summer, according to RTM Manager Paul Steinke, a new take-away establishment will occupy what had been Andros. The new vendor, The Everyday Gourmet, will be operated by a former manager at Commissary and a former chef at Jill's Vorspiese. (The later reestablishes a market connection, since Jill's was a long-time RTM outpost of quality prepared foods.)

No word yet on what will go in Foster's space, though Steinke said he's in discussions with another kitchenware retailer, though it won't be Fante's. (That leaves one other major regional kitchenware retailer among the possibilities.)

An abbreviated shopping list for me this week, since I'll be out of town until early June.




Hanger Steak
Turkey Bacon


Crimini mushrooms
Shitake mushrooms

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fairmount Market opens

Walked over to the Fairmount & 22nd market which opened for the season today. While pickings were slim, Earl Livengood had a raft of different lettuces, plus those beautiful collard leaves and beautiful asparagus. Since I am still fairly well stocked on lettuces, I limited myself to a bunch of fresh (yes, fresh) garlic. Also at the market was another returnee, Sam Stolfus. Although I don't care for his baked goods, his spring veggies are excellent. From him I purchased a bunch of fresh mint and the first spring radishes I've seen.

Nicky Uy of The Food Trust, which sponsors this as well as the 12th & St. James Market (Tuesdays, 2-6 p.m.) and is also sponsoring the Headhouse Square market which opens in July, says in future weeks there will be additional vendors at Fairmount. A highlight for me will be Griggstown Quail Farm! This central New Jersey producer is renowned for its specialty poultry. Can't wait to purchase a poussin. And Nicky says she understands they will be selling fresh, not frozen, birds. They are also selling at the Clark Park Market, 43rd and Baltimore.

Also scheduled to sell at Fairmount starting next week, according to Nicky, is Gotschell Farms, operated by Steve and Nicole Shelly, formerly of Somerton Tanks. Carol Margerum will be back with her produce, herbs and condiments a bit later in the season.

From all reports, unless a bunch of rain descends during picking time, it looks like a fantastic strawberry season. Both Earl Livengood and Jim Iovine (who gets his local berries as part of his contract deal with Shady Brook Farm in Yardley) report the crop looks to be both big and excellent in quality.

Last Friday at the RTM I picked up Earl's morels, gathered by his neighbor Sam Conslyman. Dear at $85/pound, they were well worth the price. They were big, nearly bug-free and absolutely delicious. I sauteed them with some of Iovine Brother's "bargain" fresh porcini (the ones he'd have to trash otherwise because they weren't pristine) and a bit of shallot, then made a frittata with lots of gruyere, some lightly steamed asparagus, a mere touch of thyme, salt and pepper. Very yummy. Served with a green salad and Metropolitan baguette.

Sam doesn't think he'll see more morels, but expect Earl to have more lilacs. They were in profusion last week and, although they've finally started to dry out, they still perfume the house.

Here's last Saturday's shopping list:

IOVINE ($8.55)
Black grapes, seedless
Honey tangerines
Porcini mushrooms
Red bell pepper
Vidalia onions

LIVENGOOD ($43.75)
Romaine lettuce

SALUMERIA ($10.38)
Gruyere cheese


HARRY OCHS ($4.29)
Turkey bacon