Spring has finally sprung on Swat’s campus, and with it has come fresh local produce. No more flavorless — and environmentally offensive — hot-house vegetables this season. The long winter has delayed some crops, but the earliest greens are now available in the Philadelphia/South Jersey region. The Swarthmore Co-op is a great place to buy veggies because you can be sure that they are locally sourced and that the farmers are fairly compensated.
Microgreens are small, tender greens packed with nutrients and flavor. They are essentially infant vegetables, typically harvested within 10-14 days of germination. They make delicious and healthy additions to sandwiches, salads, proteins — pretty much anything. Different varieties have different flavors, so be sure to taste them all.
Available at the Co-op for $2.49/1oz container OH Produce! Microgreens†
Baby Bok Choy
Baby bok choy is a miniature version of standard bok choy, which is also known as Chinese cabbage. It’s great steamed, in stir fries and is even delicious raw in salads when its leaves are still young and tender.
Available at the Coop for $3.99/lb from Happy Berry Valley Farm*
Kohlrabi is another brassica family member, and it comes in purple and green. Under the fibrous outer layers is a crisp, broccoli stem-like vegetable. Eat your kohlrabi raw as you would crudité, or roast it with olive oil as a healthy substitute for fries.
Available at the Coop for $2.99/lb from Happy Berry Valley Farm*
Cabbage is an inexpensive brassica (broccoli family) vegetable that has many health benefits. Red/purple cabbage is especially beneficial. Use it in a fresh slaw or as a healthy wrapper for stuffed cabbage rolls — get creative!
Available at the Coop for $0.49/lb from Happy Berry Valley Farm*
Local Mushrooms – Crimini & Shitake
While mushrooms aren’t technically vegetables, the fungi/vegetables combination is pretty common. Mushrooms are locally grown indoors year-round. Swarthmore is conveniently located just outside of Chester County, PA — the home of a booming mushroom industry — so mushrooms are a great local/seasonal option for Swatties all year ’round. Stir fry some crimini or shitake mushrooms up with your baby bok choy, roast some shrooms with your kohlrabi or chop ’em up over your microgreens salad!
Available at the Co-op. †OH Produce! – organically hydroponic microgreens grown in Kempton, PA — distance: 76 miles
*CSA located in Cumberland County, NJ — distance: 45 miles
Want to learn how to shop for these veggies? See Olivia’s Quick and Dirty Guide: How to Cook For Yourself