Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's Spring--time for silly food

Right now there's a big controversy at my local farmer's market because the woman who built it up into a weekly "must visit" has been shoved aside in favor of a new manager who wants to take the market "up market." In particular, the people who put the new manager in place want to make such items as "pumpkin radishes" available.
I've never actually seen or eaten a "pumpkin radish" and when I Googled it, I kept getting references to an organic clothing company.
I'm not sure that the availability of pumpkin radishes is what I look for in a farmer's market, especially since the one where I live is actually pretty pricey already. I grew up eating produce my grandmother and great-uncle grew, so it's really hard for me to pay a lot of money for a decent ear of sweet corn.
What I will pay for is the lemony Fuerte, which is never found in supermarkets. It is the avocado other avocados call boss.
There's a new item that's starting to show up in farmer's markets, usually tagged sea beans but known as "glasswort" to my oceanography class at Duke, where I first tasted the salty, yummy vegetable on a beach foraging expedition.
And of course there are "ramps." This is a member of the onion family that is only available a couple of weeks in the spring. They're native to Appalachia, where my father's people came from and I have eaten them fried up with potatoes and bacon. And they were good.
All of these vegetables are prized because they're rare and strange and weird. Something to think about when you're making a salad out of lettuce and tomatoes.

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