Today was supposed to be this season’s first CSA delivery, but late last month the co-op let us know that because of our unusually cool March and April, they were pushing the schedule back by a week. It’ll be a few more weeks before my own radishes are ready to pull – and my asparagus patch, planted last year, is still hands-off for another season – so this extra week’s wait is going to feel extra long.
Luckily, we’re blessed here in Philadelphia with a terrific network of farmers markets, and yesterday was Opening Day for the showiest, the market at Headhouse Square. Cramped under the historic shambles – which date from 1745 – the Food Trust’s tightly curated Headhouse Market can’t rival the sprawl or selection of Madison’s or Des Moines’s rings around the capitol, but I’ve found the quality of the vendors has bumped up a notch every year.
Yesterday, I scored a hunk of PorcSalt‘s coveted honey-cured bacon (and talked to charcutier/chef Matt Ridgeway about his new bistro up near Lambertville); a pound of Guatemala Dark from Philly Fair Trade Roasters; a huge handful of French breakfast radishes and spinach from Blooming Glen Farm; plus a whole mess of dairy (cheese, ricotta, butter, and salted-caramel ice cream).
By far the best news of the day, though, came from farmer Tom Culton, who told me the spears you see above are from prolific crowns he planted just three years ago. We commiserated over how hard it is not to pick the tantalizing stalks that shoot up in Year Two, but he counseled that it’s important to be patient and “let the miracles happen underground” for one more season.
In the meantime, this morning I’ve already steamed and shocked my pound-plus take from yesterday so I can use it in a quick dinner tonight (probably a 9:00-pm omelet) and for lunch in a salad tomorrow. Tom also had a mountain of early rhubarb, which’ll likely make its way into some muffins – and maybe soda syrup – Wednesday morning.
Looks like it’s going to be a pink and green week.