When weather happens - be it snow, a cold snap, a heat wave, rain, or no rain - our product list becomes more of a "wish list" as our farmers take preventive action to save their crops.
Overcast days stunt the growth of hydroponic lettuces and high-tunnel greens. Blizzard conditions can damage greenhouses and freeze carefully tended rows of salad mix. Harsh freezes like the recent polar vortex can even ruin crops that have already been harvested: for example, a broken heater in one of our farm's storage facilities last week meant an entire stock of claimed spaghetti squash was lost.
There are lessons to be learned here. Have a plan B (when possible). Be flexible. Be thankful that a barn full of frozen squash or snow-covered rows of greens don't mean we might not make it to spring (although our hardworking farmers still take a hit when harvests don't make it to market). After two mild winters that had us eating cauliflower in January, we're due for a season that tests our commitment to eating locally!
This week, I'm hoping we'll have lots more salad greens - chemical-free BABY ARUGULA from Mill Creek Farm in Nj., Agriark's RED OAK LEAF LETTUCE, and the beautiful HYDROPONIC GREEN and RED LEAF LETTUCES that the Gehman Family has been bringing us. And you cleaned us out of Young Sprouts' CHEMICAL-FREE SUNFLOWER SHOOTS last weekend - but we should receive another batch late this week.
If harvests don't go as planned, there are alternatives. Check our freezer for bags of IPM FROZEN SPINACH from Dusty Lane Farm in Elmer, Nj., or get your greens from a jar of Cobblestone Krautery's RITTENHOUSE KRAUT or SOUTH PHILLY JUNGLE KRAUT (watch this space for news on lots more fermented foods coming soon to the Farmstand).
And there are still plenty of tasty, colorful veggies to brighten up your winter table. We've got SWEET POTATOES in WHITE, PURPLE, and ORANGE from Parzanese Bros. Farm; ORGANIC KYOTO RED, HEIRLOOM YELLOW, and DEEP PURPLE CARROTS; and flavorful, uncommon roots like ORGANIC CELERIAC and SCORZONERA (AKA black salsify) to experiment with (I had a great celeriac panzanella at Local 44 last weekend and can't wait to recreate it at home).
Despite the freeze, we've still got some BUTTERNUT SQUASH and brightly-colored CARNIVAL ACORN SQUASH, plus HEIRLOOM RED CRANBERRIES, tons of APPLES, and beautiful new ORGANIC MAITAKE MUSHROOMS (delicious when seared). Lucky for us, fungi are always in season in Pennsylvania!
Elsewhere at the Farmstand, look for this season's new cheeses from Yellow Springs Farm in Chester County, Pa.: HERBALICIOUS and SUNSET (and consider signing up for their 2014 Cheese CSA now!). We're also getting a new batch of PB&JAMS organic NUT BUTTERS sweetened with local honey. And don't forget to grab your Philly Bread, with deliveries of PHILLY MUFFINS and FOCACCIA on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.