It's officially spring. No, I don't mean the movement of the tilt of the Earth on its axis to create the vernal equinox.
No, the true sign of spring can be found at Earl Livengood's stand at the Reading Terminal Market. To eat, he offered young, tender dandelion greens this morning; to enjoy visually (or tactually) you could purchase pussy willows.
Over at Iovine Brothers, Brother Jim explained how they manage to sell organic green seedless grapes ($1 a bag for a bag that, by my estimate, weighed a pound and a half) for less than the conventional variety ($1.99/pound): A Walmart or other big buyer "kicks" a lot, sticking it to the distributor who has to find another buyer. When a distributor has produce that just has to move, they've got the speed dialer on their phone set to Iovine's. (As always, click on a photo to see a larger version.)
Other relative bargains at Iovine's this morning: bags of California clementines for $3.99 and one-pound clamshells of Florida strawberries for $1.99. Not such a bargain, but still a welcome seasonal addition, were the baby artichokes, $3.99/pound. Lemons and lines still exorbitant at 50 cents each.
The price of the gutted, headless sardines at Wan's seafood went up to $3.99/pound, but the price of whole sardines at John Yi fell to $2.99. The latter's refrigerator case of cephalopods, fresh water salmonids, and clupea harengus looked particularly attractive today.
Young's Flowers has given up its Saturday daystall in the market due to insurance costs. They are still expected to sell when the Headhouse market gears up later this spring.
Market management is near a deal to fill the vacant space most recently occupied by the natural food store and, before that, Margerum's. The new vendor will sell a range of packaged grocery items (trending to the gourmet/high priced side), so if you need that canned broth or ketchup to complete your recipe you won't have to make a second stop elsewhere. This will be the vendor's first expansion beyond his current single store in another section of the city.