Saturday, May 29, 2010

Early bird gets the zzzzzzzzzzzz…

Since I’ve been writing Produce Stories for four years now, there aren’t really many firsts left to be had: even when vendors come and go, the seasons tend to bring the same fruits and vegetables to the market, season in, season out.

But this morning marked the first (and, let’s hope, last) time I went straight to the market in the morning without sleeping. Being that this is a family blog, I won’t go into the circumstances, but I will say that I was sure spaced out and lackadaisical about my shopping. One vendor asked me how I was doing and, after ringing up my greens, told me to “be careful out there.”

You snooze, you lose:
1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 bunch Siberian kale
½ lb. wild asparagus
2/3 lb. sugar snap peas
4 shallots
2 heads red oak lettuce
1 pint strawberries
1 pint cherries (!!!!!!!!)
Total spent: $35

The upside was that, since I left my house at 7:30, I got to the market just as it was opening, so it wasn’t crowded and nobody had sold out of anything yet – and by “anything” I mean CHERRIES!! My buddies at Locust Grove had ‘em, and I snagged a pint.

If I weren’t so drowsy I think I’d be beside myself with glee about the reappearance of sugar snaps. Shell peas were available too, but I held back, since I didn’t have any immediate ideas for them. I’ll have to plan a dinner party soon so I can make fresh pea soup with cream and tarragon.

No big plans for anything else, beyond the giant shalloty salads and proteins served atop piles of greens that have been my standard fare lately. I’m happy that regular heads of lettuce are back in season, so I don’t have to buy super-pricey (albeit delicious) baby greens anymore – and Keith’s Farm has the best lettuce, though sadly their garlic is still all green.

My lord, I’m tired.

Photo from Flickr: fromky's photostream

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Better than sleep: strawberries!

Despite severe undersleeping after last night's brain-breaking (in the best way) Joshua Light Show with Silver Apples and Oneida, I didn't even snooze when my alarm bleated at 7:15 this morning - I was so excited about strawberries, which I missed last week. I arrived at the market at 8:30, buoyed by the gorgeous blue sky and green tea with fresh mint & sage. And: mission accomplished! Of course, I've eaten half of them already.

Oh, spring fever
1/4 lb. mixed baby greens
1/4 lb. arugula
1 lb. white button mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus
2 lbs. carrots
1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 bunch lacinato kale
2 pints strawberries
Total spent: $36

Not that there weren't minor disappointments. My greenmarket inside source told me that Eckerton had had sugar snaps and shell peas for a few minutes before I got there, and wild asparagus has already gone from Terhune.

But strawberries are worth it. My love for strawberries is well-documented (not the least of which, on my left arm), and while apricots may make better jam, and sweet cherries may be easier to eat by the pound, the first strawberries of the year are most evocative, for me, of sunshine and sweetness and - to take it a little over the top - the wonders of the vegetal world. I guess: they just make me happy.

The baby greens are my favorites, from Hawthorne Valley Farm, and they'll be paired with the arugula + dressed with herby shallot vinaigrette in one of the many protein + salad greens dinners I can't get enough of lately. I've been sautéeing broccoli rabe with ginger, sesame seeds, shoyu, and a splash of toasted sesame oil, and bringing it to work to eat cold, which is surprisingly great.

And of course, the strawberries will be gone before the weekend's over.