The month of May kicked off with some unusually warm but welcome weather. At the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, warmer spring temperatures mean an early beginning to stone fruit season, with cherries showing up at Twin Girls Farm almost two weeks before their normal harvest time. With the appearance of basil and squash blossoms at Chue’s Farm, we’re seeing signs that summer will soon be here. The market’s bounty is getting even more bountiful each week, so here are a few things to keep your eyes peeled for in the month of May:
Elephant garlic scapes: To prepare for the harvest of the first Elephant garlic bulbs next month, the crew at Thomas Farm has been thinning out and harvesting the scapes to bring to market. Removing the scapes allows the plant to focus its energy on bulb growth. The scapes have delicious flavor and can be used in a variety of ways, such as sautéed, added to pastas or egg dishes, pickled or made into a pesto. They also make a beautiful addition to flower bouquets.
Apache apricots: Apache apricots are one of the first stone fruits to be harvested at Frog Hollow Farm, along with their Brooks cherries. The Apache variety was developed by researchers at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in 2003, and it ripens before other more popular and older varieties. The Apache is fragrant, sweet and ready to eat right now at the Frog Hollow Farm’s stand on Tuesdays and Saturdays in the month of May.
Persian green plums: With their tart flavor and firm texture, this early plum variety can be an acquired taste. Persian green plums just started popping up Blossom Bluff Orchards’ Saturday stand and are typically available only for a few weeks. They can be preserved and used much like Meyer lemons, or chopped and added to grains like couscous or quinoa.
Craftsman & Wolves: Pastry guru William Werner, formerly of Tell Tale Preserve Co. fame, is back at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market with his latest venture, Craftsman & Wolves. While he’ll be offering up the enormously popular Rebel Within (a savory muffin with a soft-cooked egg inside), he says folks can expect new market-inspired financiers and fruit tarts, scones featuring the flavors of Thailand, and a selection of pâtés de fruits, preserves, caramels and more. William tells me he is impatiently awaiting the return of blueberries to use in a blueberry muffin with salted butter crumb topping, and he and the team at Craftsman and Wolves are also planning “an all-out assault on stone fruit” for the summer months.
Loquats:Loquats have one of the shortest seasons at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. K & J Orchards will begin harvesting them this week, and they expect to have them at their stand for only three weeks. Loquats can be enjoyed on their own but are also fantastic in desserts, preserved or made into chutney. Stop by the K & J Orchards stand on Saturdays to try these fleeting seasonal treats.