Saturday, May 25, 2013

Strawberries and Snap Peas

Lettuce deal at Iovine Brothers, Reading Terminal
For the past two Sundays there have been strawberries at the Headhouse Square Farmers Market, courtesy of South Jersey grower A.T. Buzby. They've been deep red, inside and out, with decent but not knock-your-socks-off flavor. I've had some leftover in the 'fridge for nearly a week, without too much deterioration.

The relative refrigerator longevity derives from the design of the berry, introduced about a dozen years ago in Florida for its commercial industry. It was created for its ability to withstand the rigors of long-distance shipping and still retain good color, shape and flavor.

In coming weeks we'll see plenty of other stawberries with deeper flavor, if sometimes less perfect shape and a more diminutive size. But as a harbinger of things to come, Buzby's product was much welcomed, and delicious atop fresh-baked Bisquik short cakes with fresh whipped cream.

Asparagus has come into its own, and what I've had has been good. Two weeks ago Tom Culton had both cultivated and wild asparagus. Tender spring greens are easy to find, too, including dandelion greens suitable for adding raw to salads or cooking.

Another welcome returnee at last Sunday's Headhouse market was a snow pea variety of sugar snap peas at Culton's stall. The regular sugar snaps should be appearing soon, too.

Farmers' markets don't have a monopoly on local produce. At the Reading Terminal Market Iovine Brothers Produce has been featuring local lettuces. Earlier this week there were gorgeous heads of Boston lettuce for 89 cents a pound. Today I spied baby romaine heads at 99 cents. Both come from Flaim Farm, a large grower in South Jersey. In addition, the Fair Food Farmstand at the RTM offers plenty of local produce, including those strawberries from A.T.Buzby.

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