Saturday, August 08, 2009

The RTM This Week

Peppers at Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce

Visited the Reading Terminal Market twice this week, Wednesday and today (Saturday). Here’s what I found:

John Yi added wild coho to its salmon selection, oddly priced a bit more expensively than the sockeye ($16.99 vs. $13.99). Copper River (presumably sockeye, since the king [chinook] CRS haul is down to mostly single digits on days when it’s open; lesser number of coho are being fished, in the hundreds, vs. thousands of sockeye) is $19.99. Halibut filets were $13.99.

Over at Golden Fish Market, cooked crawfish were $11.99/pound. At first glance that seems almost reasonable. Unless you visit Ikea where 2 kg boxes (4.4 pounds) of frozen cooked Chinese crawfish (undoubtedly Golden’s is also Chinese) are on sale for $5.99, or $1.36/pound. So, if you’re yearning for a crawfish fest, make your way to Ikea.

L. Halteman Country Store, in addition to dealing in meats and some Pennsylvania Dutch cold cuts, sells produce from Lancaster County, usually less expensively than other market farmstands and vendors, though sometimes Ben Kauffman’s Lancaster County produce wins on the price score. Today I spied yellow transparent apples, $1.59/pound; limas in the pod, $2.49, cherry tomatoes at $2.29/pint, and salad cucumbers at 3/$1. Peaches and nectarines are $2.19/pound ($1.99 if you buy five pounds or more), blueberries $3.19/pint, $5.29/quart. They’ve also got Bartlett-style pears which have just made their appearance at farm stands.

Over at Iovine Brothers Produce, local peaches (Jersey and Maryland) are 99-cents, as are NJ green bell peppers. Red peppers from “away” are $1.99/pound, orange and yellow $2.99, frying $1.49. Jersey tomatoes are 50-cents a pound, plum tomatoes (provenance unknown) are 99-cents.

Iovine’s local corn, from Shady Brook in Bucks County, is the least expensive in the market at three ears for a buck.

Iovine’s fruit selection also included limes, now back to their bargain price of 10/$1, lemons still 3/$1. Red and white seedless grapes, presumably from California, were $1.99/pound. While everyone else is selling local blueberries, Iovine’s has Florida clamshells for $1.50/pint. Also not local, but well-priced, are cantalopes at a buck apiece, though today they also had local lopes (musk melons, actually, like every other local melon called a cantalope) for $1.99 each.

The fig season has started, at least in California. Iovine offered half pints of black figs (containing about 9-11 fruits) and pints of green figs (6-8) for $4.99. (I’ll wait until a neighbor’s tree bears fruit in about three weeks.)

Cactus pears (they make great margaritas) are $1.99 a pound (roughly two fruits), which is about twice the price as OK Lee (two fruits for a buck) which carries them more frequently. OKL also had five-pound boxes of Peruvian clementines for $2.99; I didn’t buy them given how much great local fruit is available, but at that price it might be worth a try.

What we won’t be seeing at the market this year is Mirai corn. Fair Food Farmstand manager Sarah Cain says the lone known grower in the region, Pete’s Produce Farm in Westttown, is no longer selling wholesale, so it’s only available at the farm near West Chester. It’s in season now, and a sweeter, more tender corn than this Japanese hybrid is hard to find.

Still, there’s plenty of good produce to choose from at Fair Food, including corn. FF also has early apples, Ginger Golds at $1.50/pound. Exceedingly ripe apricots were $3.95/pound. Great selection of plums at $2.75/pound, including shiros, Cardinals, Satsuma and Italians. White nectarines $2, yellows $2.75, white or yellow peaches $1.75. Large purple eggplants were $1.70/pound, fairttales $3. Cubanelle peppers $4, red bells $6, jalapenos $5.95, purple bells $4.95, green bells $3.50.

Kauffman’s Lancaster County Produce had the next best price on local corn, after Iovine’s, at 50-cents an ear. Beefsteak tomatoes were $2.99, cherry tomatoes $4.95/pint, twofer $9. Large white and purple eggplants were $1.99, bell peppers in various hues (photo at top) $1.99. Yellow peaches were $1.99, donuts $2.99.

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