at the market

Hydro Tomatoes Materialize; Peaches Go Space Age

To get to the market, one had to pass through the infamous Mandarin gulch.Photo: Zoe Singer

Spring begins this week; may we recommend a fresh start after your winter rut of bananas and grapefruits?

What to Look For
If you’re not too snobby to savor tomatoes before they take off here in late summer, try the hydroponic tomatoes from Hummingbird Farms in Maryland. Grown without soil, of course, the off-season harvest is just picking up, and the big, round beefsteaks, which are plucked ripe and red, have a surprising amount of fragrance — considering ($3.99 per pound at Balducci’s).

Ataulfo (a.k.a. Champagne) mangoes are at peak flavor. Small and shaped like a flattened kidney, they have yellow and green skin, a small pit, and dense marigold-yellow flesh. The fruits are succulent and smooth, with the tang and juiciness of a great peach ($1.99 each at Balducci’s, $1.49 each at Agata & Valentina).

A company called Crispy Green has developed a product called Crispy Peaches. Each silver, snack-size pouch contains the equivalent of one peach that has been peeled, pitted, and sliced at peak ripeness, then freeze-dried to attain the consistency of astronaut ice cream, thereby concentrating its flavor and creating that singular melting crispness ($1.79 at Garden of Eden).

The lovely, baseball-size Tahoe Gold mandarin is sold with stems and leaves attached. The tart, seedless sections are ideally suited for savory salads ($2.89 per pound at Fairway).

This Just In
Mas de Flechon is a newly pressed Provençale olive oil with a deep gold color and even deeper flavors of earth, grass, lime zest, and red chile. The AOC designation guarantees the product's origin; much of it's consumed there, so get some while you can. Drizzle this fragrant treat over citrus and add sea salt for a late winter salad, or let it star in this pasta ($24.99 for a half-liter at Fairway). — Zoe Singer

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