Mirror Contributing Writer
Some wonderful new tangerine varieties are now in season at the farmers’ market. Garcia Organic farm has a sweet, flavorful Encore tangerine that combines the best of all worlds – easy to peel, virtually seedless and highly flavored. It reminds me of a tangerine-flavored lifesaver. Other varieties available at the market are Page, Pixie and Murcott. Also tangelos (part tangerine, part Pommelo) are peaking in flavor and juiciness. Check them out and give them a taste. You will be delighted.
The second week of stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines) has yielded some flavorful finds. Kennedy Farm has some Red Beaut plums – a red-skinned, yellow-flesh good early plum. Elmer Lehman from Fresno has some really tasty Queen Crest peaches. These are yellow peaches with a deep red skin and nice meaty texture. Fitz Kelly brings in his Mayfire nectarines. Look for a rich red skin color with plenty of brown speckles, which indicate high sugar (and flavor) content.
Spring onions are growing up and forming shapely bulbs for roasting or grilling. Schaner Farm has beautiful bunches of torpedo onions – oblong red onions that can be laid out on a hot grill and cooked whole. They also have some round white onions that can be sliced into a skillet and slow cooked to caramelized perfection. And get a gander at the huge, softball sized sweet white onions at Tanaka Farm’s stand. Late spring onions can be enjoyed raw as well as slow cooked to bring out their natural sugars.
Peas are everywhere, including tender pea tendrils, which can be eaten on salads or lightly stir fried. Tutti Frutti Farm has some huge English Shelling peas that are sweet and tender, and so easy to shell. Fresh peas are tricky to cook. They need a little more time than the whole sugar snaps to develop their maximum flavor and best eating texture, so watch them carefully if you decide to boil or steam them. Most of the sugar snap peas at the market need to have the tough string along their spine removed prior to eating. This is easily done by snapping the stem end and pulling the attached string down toward the tip. Stringless snap peas lack the flavor and character of their stringy cousins.
Clearwater Farm has some wild harvested Porcini and Morel mushrooms from Northern California. These tasty spring delicacies are exceptionally prized and eagerly anticipated. This year, due to the heavy snow pack, both varieties are late in appearing from under the melting snow, so they are available in limited quantities each week. Clearwater’s David West assures his customers that both the Porcinis and the Morels will be available up until July 4th and will generally cost $30 per pound or less depending on supply.
2nd and Arizona Ave., Wed. 8:30am-1:30pm and Sat. 8:30am-1:30pm
Virginia Ave. Park, Sat. 8am-1pm
Main St. and Ocean Park, The Victorian at Heritage Square, Sun. 9:30am-1pm, features live music, pony rides, coffee, omelets, crepes & free craft workshop