Friday, June 06, 2008

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

It's pretty hard not to contain myself this time of year when visiting the Reading Terminal Market or one of the farmers' markets around town. Kind of like the stress-inducing choices She Who Must Be Obeyed and I faced on our honeymoon in St. Martin. Do we sun by the pool? Or maybe the lagoon? Or the ocean front? Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Only this time, it's about produce.

French Breakfast or Cherry Bell radishes? Snow peas or sugar snaps or English peas? Asparagus or Poke? And which of the many pints or quarts of deep red strawberries should I acquire? Decisions, decisions, decisions!

I opted for the breakfast radishes and sugar snaps which will go into a salad along with red onion slices, orange sections and fresh mint from the garden. They will accompany grilled duck breast, followed by a strawberry-banana concoction from "Sorbets!", Philadelphian Jim Tarantino's wonderful little compendium of all things icy but cream-less.

This is probably the last weekend for poke at Livengood's, collected and nurtured by Sam Consylman.

Fair Food's prices are usually a tad dear, but the strawberries are competitive, particularly when considering the quality. All of the vendors at the RTM and farmers' markets have had exceptional berries the last few weeks. A lot of warm, sunny days without too many deluges of rain are the reason.

The weather has been a boon to the stone fruits, according to the farmers I've spoken with. A day or two or awful weather could always ruin the crops, but let's keep our collective fingers crossed. Cherries should start showing up in a couple of weeks.

The first cucumbers are also starting to make an appearance. Benuel Kauffman had tiny Kirby cukes today, though they were not as crisp as I would like for my pickle-making (just a salt brine with some garlic and dill: no vinegar or sugar for me). One of the Headhouse Square vendors (I forget who) expects to have some this Sunday. Ben was the only vendor at the RTM today with local English peas (both shelled and unshelled). Fair Food is particularly proud of the tiny white Hakurei turnips from Gottschell Farms on sale today; I'm not a turnip fan, but these diminutive beauties looked swell, and can be eaten raw, I'm told.

This little piggy . . .

Dwain Livengood has added pork to the frozen meats available at the family's stand (Tuesday afternoons at South & Passyunk, Thursday afternoons at 22nd & Fairmount, all day Saturdays at the RTM). The offerings include no-water added ham steak slices and bacon cured by one of the few remaining family-owned USDA-inspected processors in Lancaster County, Smuckers Quality Meats of Mount Joy. Lancaster Farming had an excellent article on the decline of the small meat processors in April.

Fair Food Newsletter

If you don't subscribe to the Fair Food Farmstand's weekly newsletter, you can always check it out at their website for what's in season. You can now find it online; it's usually posted on Thursdays. Just surf over to this link and bookmark it.

Getting Drunk With Mojo

Does anyone else besides me regard as essential can't miss viewing "Three Sheets" on the HD-only Mojo channel? I mean, Zane Lamprey spent at least half of his recent episode on Denmark extolling the virtues of Akavit!

Crunch Correction

Last week I raved about Keystone Krunch, a Cracker Jack-like conconction from the Pennsylvania General Store. Former Saturday Morning Breakfast Clubber Jan McBaker brought to my attention that it's Crunch with a "C".

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