Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Farmers grow a diversity of leafy greens year-round in our region, but you might find your favorites sell out quickly at winter tailgate markets (we’re looking at you, spinach). This is a great opportunity to substitute your go-to greens with something slightly different. Here’s a rundown of what types of greens you might encounter at markets right now.

Mustard greens tend to be known for long-cooking techniques, such as Southern-style with bacon, vinegar, and hot sauce. But many mustard greens are tender enough for quick cooking without a trace of bitterness. Take xuelihong, a long-stemmed Chinese mustard green available from Lee’s One Fortune Farm at ASAP and River Arts District markets. Wash and roughly slice the greens crosswise, stems and all, then add to stir-fries and sautéed dishes. Or look for “Cheap Frills” from Olivette Farm at ASAP Farmers Market. This mix of baby greens includes colorful and frilly mustard varieties like mizuna, Scarlet Frills, and Ruby Streaks. The blend is mild enough to enjoy as a salad or can be wilted or sautéed to add to pasta, eggs, or other dishes. 
Gai lan (also called Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale) has thick stalks and glossy leaves. Its flavor is a bit stronger than broccoli, but it makes a great substitute and can be steamed, blanched, sautéed, or roasted. Yu choy looks similar, but the stalks are thinner and it often has yellow flowers like broccoli rabe. Its flavor is more aggressive than gai lan, falling somewhere between spinach and bok choy. Get both gai lan and yu choy from Lee’s One Fortune Farm. 
Winter is the time for spinach to shine. The colder temperatures force the plant to convert its starches into sugar for the sweetest harvest. If you arrive at the start of market, you might score some from Ten Mile Farm or Olivette Farm, both at ASAP Farmers Market, or Highgate Farm at River Arts District Farmers Market, but this green is often the first to sell out. If that’s the case, also look for Taiwan spinach, available in both red-streaked and all-green varieties, from Lee’s One Fortune Farm. This type has a longer stem and an arrow-like shape. It’s milder than regular spinach. 
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region, even in the winter. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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