Sunday, September 20, 2009

Peaches Fading, Apples Gaining

Dave Garretson of Beechwood Orchard was the only vendor at Headhouse Square Farmers' Market today who still had peaches, yellows or whites for $4/quart. Dave still expects to have them next week. He warns that while the flavor and texture are great, these won't be keepers; the late season peaches, he says, will dry out fairly quickly on the counter or in the fridge.

Dave still had plentious varieties of plums as well as late season raspberries. But apples are entering the peak season,which will continue into November. Beechwood's varieties today included Honey Crisp, the season's first Macouns (they'll only be here for a few weeks), Ginger Golds, Cortlands, Ida Reds, Jonathans, Jonagolds, Galas and Empires. The Honey Crisps were selling for $4.50/quart, the rest fror $4.

Northstar Orchards offered plenty of apples, too, as well as Asian pears. What attracted me most at this vendor, however, were the great yellow flat beans pictured above, a variety they called Marvel of Venice ($2.50/pound). This Italian heirloom pole bean had pods 3/4-inch wide and 7-9 inches long. Northstar's heads of endive ($2.50/bunch) also looked particularly good. A.T. Buzby's green string beans were healthy looking, $3.50/quart.

The celeriac (celery root) at Culton Organics -- that's Tom Culton in the banded hat -- cried out "Eat me, eat me". So I bought a knob. I haven't yet decided whether to just julienne it and toss it in remoulade, or simmer with potatoes and puree them together. Using them with the potatoes elevates the puree considerably, giving the potatoes a superb fresh flavor and providing a light texture you don't expect. Just severely trim the bulbs; you may want to hold the cut up celeriac in acidulated water to forestall oxidation. The leaves are a welcome addition to a stock pot or any place else you want an herbal celery flavor. Culton also had many cases of gorgeous, long sweet peppers, mostly red but some with a tinge of green, priced at a bargain 3/$1.

Many of the vendors still have a good supply of tomatoes: field, heirloom or cherry. Corn is still available, as are eggplant in its many manisfestations. Produce that does well in cooler weather has been making a comeback in recent week, including cabbages and other members of the brassica family (cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards and, soon, brussels sprouts), and radishes, among others. Yoder Heirlooms contiunues to offer those wonderful cowpeas (black eyed peas) I raved about a few weeks ago. And just about everyone's got winter squashes, including butternut, pumpkins and, in the case of at least one vendor, blue hubbard.

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