Right now might be my favorite time of year. We’re in that sweet snippet where summer is coming to a close but fall has yet to show its face. Where corn is as abundant as back to school Instagrams, and tomatoes are as plump and fat as our faces after a night of drinking. Now is the time to head to the markets to see bell peppers in gemstone shades, to snag bright boxes of the last blackberries and to greedily stock up on peaches by the dozen, all the while praying they’ll somehow adapt to cold climates and grow all year round.
I ventured to the Headhouse Farmer’s Market, the largest farmer’s market in Philadelphia for a glimpse at the goods the season has to offer. The market is open every Sunday form 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and hosts stall upon stall of produce, flowers, local cheeses and meats. I learned two things today. The first being that kiwi berries exist. They’re a magical cross between a kiwi and a grape. The second is that I have absolutely no self control when it comes to pretty produce.
Corn: Right now is prime corn time. Ears are cheaper than ever and sweet as you’ll ever find them. Make a chilled corn soup, tuck them into fritters, roast the ears whole and slather them with butter or cut the kernels off the cob and eat them raw in a salad. Remember to pull back the husk before you buy an ear to ensure you get one with kernels in tact.
Tomatoes: Whether you like itty bitty sungolds, round Jersey tomatoes or the heirloom varieties, you are currently in the midst of a tomato extravaganza. Personally, I think all you need to make them shine is olive oil and salt. If you prefer something a little more complex, make tomato sauce, toss them into a pasta or make a loaded gazpacho.
Peaches: National peach month may be over, but thankfully peaches are still coming in strong. Poach them for a simple dessert, bake them into a pie or explore their savory side by tossing them in a salad with prosciutto and goat cheese. Or you could just stand over the sink and eat one plain, letting the sink catch the juices dripping down your entire face.
Beans: Green beans make a killer snack but also an amazing side dish. Sear them with garlic and olive oil or try them with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Maybe even try and be suave and healthy but replacing chips with beans as a dip vehicle.
Padron Peppers: Similar to shishitos, padron peppers are best simply blistered in a piping hot pan with nothing more than olive oil and salt. According to the farmers I talked to today, the padrons are especially spicy this year, so watch out and have something to cool you down on the side.
Bell Peppers: We all are familiar with the classic colors of peppers, but the market had some unique heirloom varieties in colors I’d never seen before. Think purple and white and jungle shades of green. Eat them raw with hummus, roast them and toss them into couscous or make a charred red pepper gazpacho.