Hand-sliced lox, summer stuff and figs
Between being out-of-town and being sidetracked by some community issues in my neighborhood as well as the Rick's Steak brouhaha, I've been neglectful of reporting on my shopping excursions. So here's a report on my visit to to the RTM today, as well as a bit on last weekend's visit.
Over at Hershel's East Side Deli, Andy is hand-slicing salty belly lox again rather than relying on Acme's inconsistent pre-sliced product. Hooray!
Earl Livengood (hosting his annual corn roast tomorrow at his farm on the outskirts of Lancaster; call 717 464-2698 for more info) still has some sweet, dark cherries which he's been storing since the bountiful harvest ended a couple of weeks ago. While not as pristine looking as when fresh off the tree, they remain sweet and delicious, even at $6.50 a quart or $3.50 a pint. Earl also had sour (pie) cherries for $2.95/pint, and blackberries and blueberries at $4.25/pint.
If you want a Hass avocado for guacamole or any other purposes, OK Lee wants 99-cents each, while Iovine Brothers is up to $1.49; last week Iovine's only sought 50 cents each. (Prices almost as volatile as the stock market.)
Figs are in season. Small black figs, roughly 12-15 packed high into a half-pint carton, $4.99 at Iovine, with green figs $2.49. All red and green grapes, seedless or seeded, $1.99.
Cucumbers are plentiful. Persian cucumbers at Iovine's were $1.99 a pound, which gets you about three of these smaller, six or seven-inch "seedless" cukes ideal for chopped salads and other uses. Greenhouse grown English seedless cukes were priced at two for a buck. Over at OK Lee big, fat kirbys, about two inches in diameter and six inches in length, were selling at five for a buck.
While the organic and heirloom varieties of tomatoes at Livengood's and Fair Foods will cost you $2.49 or more, the Jersey and Lancaster County standard field tomato (no slouch in the taste department at the height of the season, as it is now) are a bargain 99-cents at either Iovine's or OK Lee's. Local canteloupes (musk melons), watermelons and peaches are also in abundance.
Everyone's got good local corn now, including Iovine's. But, as anyone who has tasted it will tell you, the Mirai corn sold at Fair Food is special. Only a few ears were left when I stopped by at 10 a.m., most of it having been sold Thursday and Friday. So plan your shopping schedule accordingly next week.
Iovine bell pepper survey: Green 50-cents, yellow $1.49, red $2.99, orange, $3.99. OK Lee: red and green, 99-cents, yellow and orange $2.99. This time a year, I buy whatever color sweet pepper looks good at Benuel Kaufman's stand; today it was a small purplish variety.
John Yi continues to have a nice selection of wild salmon, as well as farmed-raised Atlantic salmon from Norway and other sources. The Alaskan wild varieties included king at $16.99, sockeye (Copper River) at $10.99 (up from $9.99 last week), and Coho at $12.99. Last week I tried the Coho, but its exceedingly mild flavor disappointed me; others, however, might find this just right. Meanwhile, with demand for soft shell crabs at its seasonal high, the price shot up to $6 per. (Come on you crabs: Molt!) Returning to John Yi is char filet at $7.99; char is mostly farm raised in Canada and Iceland, but the farming techniques used for this salmonid are among aquaculture's most eco-friendly.
Later this week I plan to buy some lamb, so I priced it today. Harry Ochs asked $9.99 for a boneless leg, while Giunta's (for what they told me was New Jersey lamb) priced it at $6.99 on-the-bone, $7.99 off. Before applying this week's 15% discount, the frozen Meadow Run lamb at Fair Foods is priced similarly to Ochs; with the discount it's more in line with Giunta's price. I didn't check Martin's, but in the past they've generally been the least expensive lamb purveyor, sometimes pricing leg as low as $3.99 on the bone, $4.99 off.
This week's shopping list:
HARRY OCHS $26.47
KAUFMAN'S LANCASTER COUNTY PRODUCE $2.42
FAIR FOOD PROJECT $2.20
EARL LIVENGOOD $10.65
IOVINE BROTHERS $2.07
White and red onions
HERSHEL'S EAST SIDE DELI $4.60
Here's my shopping list for the previous Saturday, July 21, where most of the vegetables purchased this day, and the following at Headhouse Square, went into ratatouille.
SPICE TERMINAL $4.25
GIUNTA'S PRIME SHOP $5.09
HERSHEL'S EAST SIDE DELI $4.50
JOHN YI $11.30
OK LEE $0.99
EARL LIVENGOOD $9.60
TWELFTH STREET CANTINA $2.99
IOVINE BROTHERS $2.99
At Headhouse Square last Sunday, I completed my shopping begun the previous day at the RTM for ratatouille incredients by hitting up North Star for peppers and onions, Wimer's for roma tomatoes and more eggplant, Blooming Glen for bell peppers (as well as cherry and heirloom tomatoes for pasta, sandwiches and just plain enjoying by themselves). The biggest score of all for the ratatouille, though, was at Urban Girl: fresh savory. As one of the Urban Girls herself said, it smells like pizza!
Also at Blooming Glen, beautifully large, sweet and dead-ripe Tri-Star strawberries. This variety bears gorgeous fruit throughout the summer, so growers can expect three crops. They were delicious! I also picked up a pint of blueberries from a stand whose name I can no longer decipher from my scribble.
Here are some photos from Blooming Glen's stand: