Friday, March 30, 2012

Salad Season in Full Swing at Durham Farmers' Market

It is official... Strawberry season has started! For the past couple of weeks, farmers have been reporting that the strawberry plants in their fields are filled with green berries. With the warm weather and the sunshine, they have started turning red this week! 

Strawberry season, like the asparagus season, started a few weeks early this year. Last year, asparagus started coming to Durham Farmers' Market during this week of March and the first field grown strawberries started coming in around the 2nd week of April. Yesterday, a farmer remarked that he had never seen a spring quite like this one. He is expecting that most crops will start coming into Market about 2 weeks earlier than usual. That is, of course, assuming that all of the cold weather is completely passed. In this area, the "last frost" date is usually around April 15th.  That is typically the time that farmers (and gardeners) can expect that there will be no more frosts until the fall.  Based on the weather patterns so far this year, it seems unlikely that there will be another frost, but it is not out of the question. 

Along with the abundant asparagus and beginnings of the strawberry crop, the Market is in the midst of salad season. For the next few weeks, there will be a bounty of fresh spring salad greens - lettuce (both beautiful heads and lots of baby lettuce), arugula, spinach, frisee, mustard greens, tat soi, mizuna and more. Radishes and salad turnips are also in abundance right now. This is the time of year when salad greens, radishes, and turnips grow the easiest and the quickest. Part of eating locally and with the seasons means eating crops that are most abundant in the area. So, right now is salad season! When it is salad season, salads are a great vehicle for eating other delicacies - like strawberries, asparagus and greenhouse grown tomatoes! Before we know it we'll be well into squash season and tomato season. 

Fresh this Week....
Vegetables:  Greenhouse Green Beans!, Asparagus, Asian Greens (Tatsoi, Mizuna), Arugula, Beets, Broccoli Raab, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cress (Creasy Greens), Cilantro, Collards, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Fennel, Green Onions, Green Garlic,  Gourds, Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Rhubarb, Radishes, Rutabega, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms  (dried), Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens,
Meats:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork.  Look for whole cuts, sausages, hot dogs, jerky, liver pate and more!
Flowers & Plants: Tulips, Anemones, Icelandic Poppies, Ranunculus
Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
And: Honey, Pecans, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Cornmeal, Wines, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods - Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves
Crafts: Pottery, Jewelry, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps and much more...

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