a goose egg

farmers market season


spring is Saturday farmers market season in Lansdale, my little suburban Philly hometown. farmers market season is cooking season. every ingredient I use to cook while the farmers market is open is a story in itself, a story about the people who sell it to me and therefore part of the story of my life.

today I grilled a Delmonico steak, medium rare with a side of sauteed asparagus, exotic mushroom blend and chopped minutina drizzled at the last minute with a wild onion ramp pesto. here are the observed stories of the people who provided these ingredients to me.

the Delmonico steak is from windy springs, a local family operated farm. it’s basically a bunch of brothers and sisters with the eldest sister bossing her siblings around. they sell a lot of produce but more importantly, they also sell the best quality beef in the area. ever since I tasted their beef I have never ever purchased beef at a grocery store ever. and I make sure to let them know this every Saturday morning when I’m buying their steak, brisket or short ribs.

the sauteed asparagus minutina and mushrooms. the asparagus was from Mickley’s orchard, a local farm. you have to come real early to this stall because that asparagus is gone in an hour. and when okra is in season that bad boy is gone too. the other day the lady in front of me in the line was scolding her kid for picking up an apple from their basket and eating it before she had paid for it. the cashier is all, no worries, every kid gets a free apple. me: that explains why every damn kid here is wandering around chewing on a half eaten apple.

The minutina is from kimberton, a local csa, the first one in Pennsylvania. this is where I go to get all my greens. my swiss chard, my kale, my dandelion greens, my arugula and later in the season my various hot peppers shishito and habaneros. this is when I get into a long conversation with both my guys at the stall about hot peppers and their culinary applications. but right now, I have minutina, a green that, when sauteed with the right hot stuff, is the bomb.

the hot stuff: wild onion ramp pesto and the mushrooms. the ramps and mushrooms were provided by my mushroom man from mainly mushrooms. every time I meet my mushroom man at the farmers market we chat about the birds we’re seeing in our backyard. his wife was a birder. she passed away a couple of years ago. back when she accompanied him at the mushroom stall, while my mushroom man did the mushroom selling, me and mrs mushroom used to talk bird, chatting about the migrating warblers and orioles and blue birds. the status of our backyard feeders. our latest bird sightings. bucks county vs montgomery county. now it’s up to mr mushroom to carry her torch and both talk bird and do the selling of the mushrooms. and ramps. and fiddleheads. and garlic scapes. nowadays he has a friend to help him, a philadelphia eagles fan with whom I discuss a different kind of bird in August and September on the cusp of NFL season, desperately trying not to hug the panic (or hope) out of each other.

the olive oil for the pesto comes from my Mediterranean friend operating Mediterranean delicacies. I’ve been buying olive oil and zaatar and harissa from my man from Tunisia for the past few years. this year I was a bit confused seeing a woman at his stall. by the way this olive oil is divine. it’s so flavorful that I’ve watched white people taste it and walk away grimacing, complaining that it has “too much flavor”. ok sir. are you sure you’re not lost, the mass produced olive oil aisle is three miles away to the east. anyways, I asked the woman at the stall, how’s your father doing, I was looking forward to meeting him. “oh he’s my husband”. I had to take a moment to reflect on whether I had complimented or insulted her.

she had a batch of harissa, her own recipe that needed tasting. I tasted it and it was really good. there was a smoky aspect to it that I wanted to inquire about but I did not want to appear like a recipe thief. I told her this is way better than the harissa your husband was selling last year. she’s like, yes my husband is a good cook but there’s only one best cook in a family.

I’ve been eating that harissa from that jar with a spoon like a maniac. looking forward to buying more this weekend.