April 23, 2015

cul  Market Notes
  April 23, 2015

Our records trace this back to the streets of Austria in 2005, but we are sure it goes back further than that. One of our prominent west coast growers is now offering a rare cabbage that is usually available at farmers markets. It is called Ice-Cream Cone Cabbage, or simply Cone Cabbage. Indeed, when cut and inverted it does look like an ice-cream cone, but this tender brassica is much more than a gimmick. First off it is an early spring variety and will not do well in warmer climates so expect this season to be from late March through early June. Secondly, this is not your typical cabbage leaf. These leaves are tender and actually have a buttery flavor. There is no heavy cabbage flavor and is much easier to digest. Many tasters thought it was a cross between lettuce and cabbage. Traditionally this product has been known to not travel well and to have a short shelf-life but this grower has resolved that by creating a single layer place pack where none of the heads touch each other. The sixteen pound single layer case presents beautifully and is not damaged in travel. As these heads are smaller than traditional cabbage they are perfect for halving and grilling, not to mention the sweetest cole slaw you have ever tasted. For more information please contact your Culinary rep.

pril showers might bring May flowers, but April frost might raise ramps’ cost. Right in the midst of an accelerated harvest, some unexpected freezing weather in the Michigan Northern Peninsula will slow down the accessibility of the Ramps. This will prolong the otherwise short season. In other foraging news we have just about everything. Eastern Fiddlehead ferns should make their debut next week. We are also hearing about pockets of fresh porcini throughout the Pacific Northwest and Morels are now abundant, expect their price to drop. So we have quite a line up including, nettles, miner’s lettuce, pousse pied, morels, porcini, fiddleheads in two varieties and ramps. It’s a pretty good time to offer a seasonal foraged menu. It won’t get much better than this!

‘m sure you know me, but do you love me? I am an ancient and perennial survivor, from Europe, North Africa, Northern Asia, and North America. Tiptoe amongst us, and then trim away our young leaves for a tangy, chewy treat. Before we flower, collect our buds to marinate or deep-fry. Take an early morning walk and wade through fresh flowers lopping off our heads. Weave our stems to make a crown, and then collect our manes to add our petals to favorite dishes or make my nostalgic and beatific brew. As the colder nights settle in, enjoy my leaves from your greenhouse, a bit longer, paler and milder than from the wild, but just as good. Try them fresh or wilted with a hot strong dressing, maybe a bit southern with salt pork and garlic as well. Or try a Pennsylvania Dutch sweet-sour recipe. Cook me, just a bit, to soften my texture and mellow my flavor, but don’t cook me too long like some other bitter greens. Enjoy a coffee-like brew from my root, or perhaps, open a vintage fermentation. Okay, so you’re not a romantic — you’ll prefer the story that snickers at the French loving our bitter greens and naming us “lion’s tooth” because of our jagged leaves. You’ll belittle chefs turning us couture. Amused that we’ve become cultivated and harvested by hand or foraged from the wild, you’ll never fall in love with us; you’ll fertilize and dig us out of your perfect lawn. You’ll find our sticky milk irritating your sensitive skin. You’ll moan when we grow back where you’re sure you’ve killed us. You’ll never know how well we aid appetite and work as a diuretic and laxative, but you’ll love the nickname Pissabed, since to you we’re just a weed. If you ever do try us for our calcium, potassium and vitamins A and C, you can buy us year round, with April and May being our heyday. Just avoid us at the side of the road or where chemicals are used. Are you sure you don’t love us a little bit? You really never blew our seed puffs across the wind or read Sci-Fi writer Ray’s book?


Answer To Last Quiz….MONSTERA……Congrats To All Winners
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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