Friday, May 12, 2006

Grapevine May 14 Market

in this issue
--What's at the Market this week?

Greetings and Happy Mother's Day!

We had a pretty wet start to the season last week. It's hard to play a kazoo let alone a guitar in the rain. Thank you Josh for playing in the rain.

The weather for this weekend looks a lot better. Look for more returning vendors this weekend including Deep Roots Farm, Garden Color, Happy Harvest Farm, Herr Family Farm, Stephens Farm and Vanveen Bulb. We also have a new vendor starting this week, Blossom Vinegar. See you on Sunday!

What's at the Market this week?
Thanks to the sunny and warmer days, strawberries will be more plentiful this week. Other spring crops like snow peas, green garlic, radishes and spinach should be in good supply too. Asparagus will be readily available in many varieties. You'll find green, white and purple asparagus as well as triguero, a long stemmed variety originally from Andalusia. You'll find a good supply of cauliflower, broccoli, shitake and maitake mushrooms, lettuce, beets, hydroponic tomatoes, garlic, potatoes and greens.

Asparagus is a local crop that signifies a very specific time of year. (The Hood strawberry is another crop and they are coming soon!) With its season running from mid-April to early June,
asparagus is a very clear signal that spring is here. Farmers at Hillsdale and other Portland markets have been growing more varieties over the past few years and now you can find locally grown green, white and purple asparagus and more exotic spanish varieties as well. These varieties are far better than the dull grey-green canned spears I ate as a kid.

While eating a tamale at the market last week, I found myself looking at all the shoppers carting
away asparagus and thought to myself "I really want an asparagus tamale". I did find a recipe but haven't gotten around to trying it. This week was not one to try a new recipe.

Steaming or boiling is a common (and simpler) way to prepare asparagus. Roasting is an equally simple and flavorful way to cook asparagus. Simply toss clean spears in some olive oil and lay flat, single layer in a roasting pan. Place the pan in a preheated 450 degree oven. Shake the pan once or twice while cooking to turn the spears. Roast for 10-12 minutes until the asparagus is tender. Place roasted asparagus on a serving platter, drizzle a little basalmic vinegar across the spears and serve.