Cherries and Raspberries Are Coming, But Strawberries Are Going, and Fast

Pick out the darkest cherries one by one — or grab them greedily by the handful, as we do.
Pick out the darkest cherries one by one — or grab them greedily by the handful, as we do.haha Photo: Zoe Singer

Most farms will bring in the last of their strawberries in the next week or two, and prices are at their lowest now, so this is a great time to gorge on the tiny red gems. Lucky for us, a parade of other fruit awaits, from the already-appearing cherries to high-summer glories like apricots. And tri-star strawberries, a unique variety that lasts all summer, have only just begun.

What to Look For
Outdoor raspberries are already red in southern Jersey. They are far softer, juicier, and more aromatic than the firm behemoths from California. In fact, these must be handled with care. Eat them straight from the juice-stained container, or crush them with some sugar for a dessert sauce or a tangy crimson addition to lemonade ($5 per half-pint at James Durr, available Saturday).

Keith’s rocambole garlic is a market celebrity, its spring entrance met with news cameras and noted in local blogs. Now the heads are large enough to slice and cook, making this a good time to find out what the fuss is about. Use this full-flavored, fresh tasting garlic in sautés or salad dressings to enjoy its fruity, fragrant character ($2 per bunch at Keith’s, available Wednesday and Saturday).

Sweet red cherries are coming in. Patient types can pick out the darkest specimens, which are the sweetest, but all are juicy and full of fruity flavor, and they’ll just get bigger and sweeter as the season progresses. And a little dolling up never hurts (recipe) ($4 per pound at Locust Grove, available Wednesday and Saturday).

Moist, with a delicate, clean flavor, new red potatoes are almost milky tasting, while new Yukon Golds have a buttery richness. Recognizable by their flaky, thin skin, the red ones are suited to steaming or boiling. Dress them with butter or vinaigrette, or fold them into potato salad ($2.50 per pound at Cherry Lane, available Wednesday and Saturday).

Blink and You’ll Miss It
Fava beans hit the market this past Wednesday, and the season will only last two or three weeks, so jump on them. Pull the beans out of the pods, blanch, then begin the tedious part, slitting the outer skin of each bean and squeezing out the delectably tender, nutty, leguminous, bright-green treat within. Add to a spring jumble, or buy a whole hill of them and purée with olive oil, Pecorino, and a little fresh garlic for a tiny portion of spring’s meanest, greenest crostini topping ($3.50 per pound at Eckerton Hill, available Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday).

Overheard at the Market: Uncertified Heroes Department
“Most of the farms don’t spray or use chemicals. They can’t call it organic since they don’t have the certification, but you couldn’t get any more organic.” — Zoe Singer