Alex Jones, Product Manager
Bust out your tall, skinny steamer pots and fire up th e grill: ASPARAGUS has arrived, and it feels like the growing season has truly begun! Our friends at Common Market have traveled down to southern Delaware to pick up a haul of this versatile veg from Fifer Orchards in Camden-Wyoming. Farmer Curt Fifer has long supplied the first flush of several crops to Philly's sustainable food distributors and retailers - we should be seeing STRAWBERRIES from him around mid-May, and maybe some shelled ENGLISH PEAS in the coming weeks as well.
As for grass - as the chef at your favorite restaurant probably refers to asparagus when in the kitchen - there are few dishes that aren't improved by the addition of a few spears chopped up and thrown in or served alongside. (One of my favorite food writers, former Gourmet editor Jane Lear, rhapsodizes over the springtime stalks a bit more here.)
There are endless delectable preparations for asparagus, but there are a few favorites I return to every spring: Shave raw spears over pizza or into a salad. Bake them into a stunning tart, or dress up pasta with asparagus, Woodland Jewel's GOLDEN or SILVER OYSTER MUSHROOMS, and Caputo Bros. Creamery's heavenly WHEY RICOTTA. Go for simple, healthy weeknight fare like this soup with asparagus, SPRING GARLIC, and LEEKS (which are back this week too), or go for one of the simplest and most delicious routes and roast those spears till crisp.
Or you can push boundaries with Ms. Lear's Asparagus Mimosa - not a sparkling beverage but a preparation of tender asparagus stalks with a tangy shallot dressing and fluffy garnish of hard-cooked egg. And don't forget dessert: while it's certainly not traditional, there are some sweet recipes for this veggie out there, like this panna cotta that's also prepared with RHUBARB - which we also happen to have in this week from the chemical-free growers at the Oasis at Bird-in-Hand cooperative!
Rhubarb is often the plain Jan Brady to strawberries' glamorous Marcia, but my favorite preparation of the plant goes back to my Canadian granny's straight-up rhubarb pie, made with stalks picked from her own patch and face-puckeringly tart. Marisa McClellan has a great roundup of recipes to use and preserve rhubarb at Food In Jars - I'll definitely be making rhubarb-rosemary jam and rhubarb syrup this spring.
Elsewhere at the Farmstand, RAMPS are in great supply this week but won't be around for long. Our new friends at Maidanos Farm up in Tioga County brought us a huge harvest of perfect-looking ramps wild harvested on their land, many tinged with pink on their stalks - a rare find. We're even selling them ON SPECIAL for $2 off per pound this week! Come get a fistful (or an armful) and add that rare allium flavor to your cooking while you still can.
And so it begins - another whirlwind growing season at Fair Food. We're so excited to share this journey with you all!