Author Archive for Phoebe Connelly

Market Research: Japanese Sweet Potato

Japanese sweet potatoes are an alternative to the cloying charms of the average yellow-fleshed type. (Fun fact: A sweet potato is neither a yam nor a potato.) The Japanese variety has burgundy skin, and its white flesh is less sweet and more floral. Where to Buy: I found Japanese sweet potatoes from Laurel Grove Farms […]

Market Research: Winter Radishes

Radishes are one of the first vegetables to appear each spring, but come fall, you’ll still find several varieties that offer dramatic size and color. The autumnal varieties don’t have the spongy interior pockets, known as pithing, that plague common table radishes when they grow large. Where to Buy: I found watermelon radishes (white exterior, […]

Market Research: Young Ginger

“Super awesome” is how Kyle Bailey, chef of Birch & Barley, describes the young ginger that’s been popping up at local markets. Ginger is a tropical plant, so cultivating it around here can be hard. Shawna DeWitt of Mountain View Farms in Purcellville, Va., says this is her first year growing it. “We had to […]

Market Research: Pears

Bored with apples? Seek out some not-so-new varieties of pears. The Seckel is a small, heirloom variety roughly the size of a child’s fist. It’s got a clean, sweet taste that’s not as honey-cloying as some varieties. Best of all, these pears have full flavor when crisp, meaning you don’t need to wait for them […]

Market Research: Carrots

It’s the season of root vegetables, but the weather doesn’t always comport with a 400-degree oven. Carrots offer a compromise; They’re delightful cooked, but also work well in raw salads. We talked with Big Bear Café chef John Cochran about having the vegetable both ways. How to Buy: Look for firm, crisp roots. Don’t worry […]

Market Research: Golden Oyster Mushrooms

Takoma Mushrooms owner Joe Valenti thinks foraged produce is the next big thing. A newcomer to the D.C. farmers market scene, he cultivates ’shrooms out of a greenhouse in Takoma Park and forages for wild varieties in the Catoctin Mountains in Maryland. Valenti brought only grey and golden oyster mushrooms on a recent evening at […]

Market Research: Padrón Peppers

This is the first season Mike James of Blueberry Hill Farm in Clear Spring, Md., has grown Padrón peppers. “I had to read up on how to cultivate. The first few didn’t turn out so well,” he says. The trick, he discovered, was picking them young, before they got too hot. The small, mild green […]

Market Research: Sorrel

What: “A weed that has flavor,” says chef Dennis Marron from Penn Quarter’s Poste Moderne Brasserie, when asked to describe sorrel. “It tastes like under-ripe kiwi with a little bit of funkiness to it.” Marron looks to sorrel to add complexity to dishes. Its sour-bitter taste provides an acidic flavor different from vinegar or lemon […]

Market Research: Red-Fleshed Plums

What: Plums range in skin color from yellow-green to red to black-purple—but they also vary in flesh color. We asked Matt Ficke, bartender at the Columbia Room, for a drink that would put a red-fleshed variety on display. He suggests adding them to a caipirissima—a caipirinha made with white rum instead of cachaça, the Brazilian […]

Market Research: Fennel

You can thank Room 11 sous chef Jerry Busher’s fiancée for the raw fennel salad on the menu of the Columbia Heights restaurant. She prefers the raw vegetable over the cooked version, so for New Year’s Eve, Busher composed a simple salad for her with chopped fennel, chives, lemon vinaigrette, and Piave (a hard cow’s […]