Friday, April 11, 2014

This Week at the Durham Farmers' Market

Asparagus is back at the Market! This year, it is coming in a little bit later than we've grown accustomed to. The cool, wet weather kept it from sprouting early this year. If the weather stays springlike and doesn't get too hot, too fast, we can expect several weeks of fresh, locally grown asparagus at the Market!

Asparagus is a very thirsty crop. When it is first harvested, the end that is cut is dripping with water. From the moment that it is picked, it starts losing the moisture that is stored inside. So, once it is harvested, the race against dehydration is on! The faster that it can get from the farm to the eater, the better. It tastes fresher and sweeter, and there is a lot less waste from the end that has started to dry out.

Asparagus is also a very fast growing plant. Some farmers find that to get the best spears it needs to be harvested once a day. Through the week, as they harvest, they take great pains to keep it fresh and hydrated so that you get the most flavorful and nutritious asparagus possible. All of the asparagus available at the Market was harvested during the week that it is being sold and some of it is even harvested within hours of coming to the Market. It just doesn't get any fresher than that!

In my opinion, fresh asparagus is one of the highlights of eating locally grown and in-season foods. Most asparagus available commercially (year round) in the United States was grown in Peru or China. That means, it has to travel thousands of miles to get to a grocery store and spends weeks in refrigerated trucks, barges, and storage before being displayed at the grocery store. By then, the top is often rubbery and the bottom half dried out and woody. After so many weeks in storage, it barely has the sweet, asparagus-y flavor that makes freshly harvested asparagus so special. And, to top it off, the rise in asparagus production in Peru is doing terrible ecological damage: Peru's Asparagus Boom Threatens Water Table

To celebrate the asparagus season, Katie Coleman, owner of Durham Spirits Company will be our Chef in the Market tomorrow! She'll be making several recipes that highlight this wonderful vegetable. Cooking, tasting and recipes will be available on the Market's Central Lawn starting at 10am.

In other, non-asparagus, yet equally exciting news...
1. There will be the first few strawberries at Market tomorrow. Come early to get them!
2. Spinach will be at the Market in abundance for the next couple of weeks! This is one crop that does not like the hot weather, once it gets hot, there won't be anymore spinach until the late fall. So, don't miss this window.
3. The Wednesday Market opens this week! You can re-stock all of these wonderful spring vegetables and meet our new vendors. The Wednesday Market hours are 3:30-6:30pm, weekly! See you at the Market,

Erin Kauffman
Market Manager
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Upcoming Events
 Tomorrow: Chef in the Market, Katie Coleman from Durham Spirits Company. Recipes featuring ASPARAGUS! 10am-Noon on the lawn.

Tomorrow: Storytelling by Cynthia Raxter, 9am-Noon. Cynthia will be telling tales about growing up on the farm in western NC. Fun for kids of all ages!

Wednesday: WEDNESDAY MARKET OPENS! Hours 3:30-6:30pm! Meet our new Wednesday vendors and see some familiar faces too. Storyteller, Cynthia Raxter will be back telling stories, bring the kids!

Next Saturday: Durham County Beekeepers will be bringing their demonstration hive. Watch the bees at work and learn about honey production!

Fresh this Week....
FRUIT: Strawberries! (just a few)
VEGETABLES: ASPARAGUS! Arugula, Asian Greens, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Claytonia (Miners Lettuce), Cilantro, Cress, Collards, Daikon Radish, Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, Fennel, Dried Herbs, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mache, Micro Greens, Oyster Mushrooms, Parsley, Pea Shoots, Popcorn, Radishes, Reishi Mushrooms, Rhubarb, Salad Mix, Scallions, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Sweet Potatoes, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, and more
MEATS AND EGGS: Pork, Beef, Lamb & Mutton, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon/Cabrito, Veal
Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES: Fresh and aged COW and GOAT milk cheeses.
PLANTS: Vegetable Seedlings: Kale, Collards, Broccoli, Cilantro, Lettuce, Spinach. Fruit Plants: Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Figs. House Plants, Bedding Plants.
FLOWERS: Ranunculus, Hyacinth, Anemones, Poppies, Tulips, Stock, Mixed Bouquets
SPECIALTY ITEMS: Gluten Free Baked Goods, Raw & Creamed Honey, Pasta, Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies & Pastries, Fermented Foods, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Goats Milk Soaps, Body Butters, Lotions, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions 

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