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The Market Awakens - Market Report

March 29, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - The Market Awakens - Market Report

Welcome to Radio Kitchen, I'm Al Spoler.  April, with all its promise of warmth, is just days away, and with April comes the awakening of the local markets around the state. And Chef Jerry Pelligrino of Schola Cooking School, this is the moment we're all waiting for.

Many farmers are reporting that despite a few bitterly cold days, it has been a rather mild winter, and that we are due for an early spring.  We've been keeping in touch with our farming friends at the year-round Waverly Market in Baltimore, and we would like to give you a heads-up on what sort of things are in the offing.

Eden Farm in Middle River is owned by a Korean family.  Not only do they grow the standard Maryland repertoire, they also specialize in Asian produce.  Look for their giant white radish (about the size of a football) which is good for pickling, eating raw, or used in kimchee. 

They have planted seed in their fields, and they also have high tunnel seedlings sprouting up.  Their fist entries into the new market will be garlic, chives, spring onion, lettuce and greens.

The folks at Martin Farm have a rule of thumb about gaging the severity of the winter.  How did the rosemary do?  This cold tolerant plant can survive all but the harshest winters.  This past year hit them hard, but did not knock them out.  So the verdict is a medium tough winter.

Martin will be bringing is their Swiss chard, dill, baby salad greens, carrots and three varieties of beets, including the stunning candy stripe variety. Bartenfelder Farm in Preston is grateful for the warm early spring, and they have started planting already. 

But the early planting comes with a caveat:  a hard rain can wash away seed that hasn't germinated and set roots, thus wiping out a considerable investment in seed.  That's why high tunnels are popular with them, since they can raise their seedlings in a protected environment and transplant later.

Dave Hocheimer of Black Rock Orchard reports a pretty mild winter that did nothing to hurt his fruit trees and their buds.  But given his druthers, he would prefer to see cool weather through the month of April, which will help to give this year's crop a good orderly start and not rush things along.

And Glenville Hollow Farms tell me that their first produce should be hitting the market in early April.  They plan to have kale and mustard greens on hand.

So it's just a few weeks until the asparagus rolls in, and that will be a happy day in Spring, indeed.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.