Saturday, May 01, 2010

Strawberries Push the Envelope

Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce offered local strawberries at the Reading Terminal Market today. But only technically. These berries, priced at $5.95/pint (two for $10) were raised indoors, according to Benuel Kauffman. Don't expect to see outdoor grown local strawberries for at least another two weeks, more likely three.

Ben also had some gorgeous looking indoor-grown seedless cukes, at least a foot long each.

Both Iovine Brothers Produce and the Fair Food Farmstand are selling veggies from New Jersey's Flaim Farm. Both, for example, had Flaim's leeks ($1.75/pound at FF, $1.95/pound for smaller examples at Iovine's).

As I wrote last year when Iovine's began carrying Flaim's produce (sometimes marketed under the name Panther), the Vineland farm produces romaine, kohlrabi, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, swiss chard (green, red), rainbow kale, turnips, napa cabbage, squash, eggplant (four varieties), peppers, escarole, endive. tomatillos and scallions on 450 acres. The farm was established in 1934 and is now operated by brothers Kevin and Bob Flaim. They also sell at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.

Iovine's is also handling another producer's output in common with Fair Food: eggs from Natural Meadow Farms, Lancaster County.

Fair Foods still had fiddleheads today, $16/pound. No sign of ramps anywhere at the market, but FF had some rather pungent fresh spring garlic. IPM asparagus was $3.30/bunch, chemical-free stalks $3.50.

Most of the halibut I see at the Reading Terminal hails from Alaska, usually frozen. Today, at a savings of $7/pound vs. the $18.99 for the Alaskan version, John Yi had firm white filets from Canada. I bought some to try tomorrow. One of the fishmongers said it's slightly "fishier" than the Alaskan version, which is no sin in my book so long as it's fresh. Boston mackerel also made a reappearance at Yi's, $2.99/pound for whole fish.

Jim Iovine was touting tomatoes and corn this week. I tried the former, and they weren't bad: $1.49 pints of cherry tomatoes that, if they didn't quite taste like summer, came close. 

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