Theres already lovely salad to be had, and farms south of the city are beginning to pull up the first shoots of green garlic and chives; farmers upstate report that early crops will be harvested the moment the ground warms up enough.
What to Look For
Small-leaved mizuna, tatsoi, red and green leaf lettuces, and baby dandelion plants will thrive in a moderately sunny window, and you can pull the delectable leaves every week or so for salads ($14 for a flat of five varieties at Oak Grove, available Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).
Cold-hardy minors (or miners) lettuce resembles purslane. Its smooth, dime-size leaves top tender pink-stemmed bunches and have a buttery, mineral-rich flavor. Theyre an elegant addition to salads ($6 per pound at Gorzynski, available Saturday).
While so far the seasons harvest consists mostly of tender shoots, roots like parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, salsify, and burdock, which were planted in the fall, emerge from the recently thawed ground with a particularly rich, condensed flavor. The dry texture of just-dug, sugar-sweet parsnips makes them perfect for frying or pureing with plenty of cream ($1 per pound at Paffenroth, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Those intrigued by immature (a.k.a. unlaid or embryonic) eggs will want to check out the back cooler at Knoll Krest. Similar to caviar, the shell- and white-free yolks, encased in a surprisingly durable sac, come from old laying hens on their way to becoming soup chickens. Poach the golden orbs to and serve over steamed asparagus, or combine them with flour to make buttercup-yellow pasta. The mildest, most buttery of yolks, they lack the iron and sulfur one gets in mature eggs ($3 per pound at Knoll Krest, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Blink and Youll Miss It
Created in October, when milk was at its richest, then aged for six months, the cow-and-sheep blend Oktoberkas cheese has just been unveiled, and supplies are limited. With its pronounced sharpness, slightly hole-y texture, and nutty sweetness and melting qualities of a European mountain cheese, the mix is like a lively Swiss ($10 per half-pound at Valley Shepherd, available Wednesday and Saturday).