Friday, August 24, 2007

Local Produce Runs Wild in the PSFC Produce Aisle

The organic tomato season is now at its peak. The heirloom varieties are far too numerous to mention, but they include red, yellow and orange brandywine, garden peach, green zebra, moskvich, lemon, cherokee purple, costoluto genovese and many more. The cherry tomato mix includes many different varieties as well. The appreciation of all of the tomatoes is experienced by sight, taste, and aroma, but I also find the numbers interesting too. We are providing for sale this week:

1,800 pints of cherry tomatoes
3,00 pounds of red tomatoes
650 pounds of heirloom tomatoes
1,050 pounds of plum tomatoes
875 pounds of orange and yellow tomatoes

Most of these tomatoes come from Hepworth Farm in Milton, NY, and some of the heirlooms are coming from Finger Lakes Organic Growers Cooperative.

The local fruit season is transitioning from stone fruits to apples and pears. The first local apples of the year are the minimally treated Paula Red, Tydeman and Ginger Gold from Hepworth Farm. Also from Hepworth, we have the Clapp Pear and from Finger Lakes, the organic Harrow's Delight Pear.

Other new items from local organic family farms:

Ground cherries (aka husk tomato or cape gooseberry)—a close relative of the tomatillo, looks like a miniature tomatillo but is a sweet tart fruit. Peel the papery husk and eat fresh or use in salads, like a tomato, or add to a fruit salad. They can be dried or made into jelly.

New York State Garlicis finally here. We are hoping for a much greater supply this year. These are the hard neck variety. They are superior to the easier cheaper to grow soft neck, and are absolutely packed with essence of garlic flavor, rather than just garlicky heat. Weigh a bulb in your hand, and you will find it to be surprisingly heavy

Purslane—In the USA this vegetable is considered to be a weed, but it is considered to be a vegetable elsewhere as in Asia and Europe. If you look it up in Google, you will find that most of the references relate to its eradication, rather that its culinary use. Use the leaves raw in salads or cook gently much as you would use spinach, or add it near the end of the cooking of soups or stews. This vegetable is valued for its high content of omega-3 fatty acids and is also a good source of anti-oxidants.

Japanese Turnips with tops have returned. They are limited now and will be sporadically available into the fall.

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