"Ramping" up Spring: April 24-30

Alex Jones, Product Manager

It's easy to build excitement around some crops when they come into season in our region: Asparagus is finally here! Grab a quart of sour cherries before they're gone! Taste the first sweet corn of the season! STRAWBERRIES!

With the arrival of foraged foods in early springtime, the hype isn't as easy to manage. As soon as March rolls around (no matter how snowy), we get requests for these rare gems, and they start popping up on fine dining menus from sources all over the east coast before they're actually growing in our 'hood.

While our forager friends know where to go to find riverside beds of ramps or tightly curled fiddlehead ferns, we're talking tens of pounds of product, not hundreds or thousands. These edibles don't grow in straight rows across wide-open fields, but in small quantities in secluded or overlooked areas. And when they're gone, that's it till next year - and sometimes, the season is only a single week.

My intel indicates that FIDDLEHEADS might already be done - check our Facebook page on Friday, when we'll know for sure, for an update (and "like" us so you know as soon as all the exciting spring and summer crops roll out!). RAMPS, however, should be around for at least another week. And the less-flashy wild edibles - abundant PATIENCE DOCK, invasive GARLIC MUSTARD, and ecological scourge JAPANESE KNOTWEED - should be around for a few more weeks, too.

Field crops are slowly coming in as well, but we've got at least another week's wait on ASPARAGUS. Our friends at Marolda Farm have hooked us up with ORGANIC GREEN KALE and ORGANIC FLAT-LEAF SPINACH in fat bunches - and because of big harvests this week, we're able to offer this lovely spinach ON SPECIAL for just $1.99 per bunch! To go with that spinach, grab some ORGANIC SPRING GARLIC from Landisdale Farm and make this verdant, healthy soup. Add a hunk of baguette, Trickling Springs ORGANIC SALTED BUTTER, and Landisdale's ORGANIC FRENCH BREAKFAST RADISHES and baby, you've got a healthy lunch going. Cook up a pack of Mosefund Farm's heritage breed SMOKED BRATWURST and that makes it dinner.

While we pine for those elusive strawberries, console yourself with frozen desserts and natural sweeteners: We're all stocked up with Weckerly's heavenly dairy-free sorbets in CHOCOLATE SESAME (featuring Soom Foods tahini), AVOCADO-LIME, BANANA BOURBON, and ELDERBERRY PU-ERH (think floral and fruity berry and tea flavors). Our stash of Little Baby's Ice Cream in classic flavors like EARL GRAY SRIRACHA and CARDAMOM CARAMEL is full too - get excited for seasonal fruit flavors from them in the coming weeks.

If that's not sweet enough for you, grab a jar from our just-delivered batch of Philadelphia Bee Co.'s NEIGHBORHOOD HONEY! Beekeeper Don Shump has emerged from winter hibernation with West Philly-grown honey this time, and he's hustling to build more bee boxes for the upcoming season. Hyperlocal honey is also used by many to remedy seasonal allergies, which is one thing that frozen desserts, no matter how delicious, probably can't do.

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