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Regional produce?

  • tcamp Aug 20, 2009 08:59 AM
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I enjoy going to farmers markets whenever I travel and find the regional differences quite interesting. Tragically, the pluots I so love from CA markets are nowhere to be found in my area. Last week I encountered ground cherries for the first time in Ottawa. NM has its chiles.

Here in DC, pawpaws are about the most exotic thing I've found. Not sure where else those grow.

What am I missing out on that you find in abundance in your area?

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  1. interesting question. I have seen currants advertised at some farm stands but I haven't actually seen them yet. Apparently the ban on currants and gooseberries has been lifted in NH. The plants were eradicated years ago as part of a civilian work project because they are alternate hosts for white pine blister rust. I hope parsnips will be abundant in my garden next spring. The ones in the grocery store aren't as sweet. One time when we spent Thanksgiving in NC I had to bring my own winter squash because I was told they don't have winter squash. We prefered the ButterCup variety until last year when I started growing a different variety called Confection. Winter squashes seem to be available year round here in New England. When our son lived in NC he said the apples were awful. New England has wonderful apples esp at the orchards that grow heirloom varieties. I was surprised to see many recipes using rose hips in AK. I don't know anyone around here that forages for them although they are abundant.

    1. I rarely use *the best* moniker for any thing here on chowhound, but If you are ever in New Jersey, do not pass up on the opportunity to purchase Beefsteak Tomatoes....they are the best I have had from anywhere grown in the US. New Jersey fresh corn is also pretty good too.

      One thing to avoid though is the New Jersey Cantaloupe. They are often large in size and look very inviting....they resemble small basketballs with the seems on the outer skin....however, I find them totally tasteless.

      1. Stone fruit in general is superb here in SoCal, as are heirloom tomatoes and just about any sort of vegetable. One category of produce that I enjoyed in Tennessee that does not seem to exist here is the field peas - blackeyes, creamers, cowpeas, lady peas and the like. Those and fireflies are the only things I miss about Nashville summers!

        1. When we go to Delaware we always pick up fresh lima beans! Not exotic, but certainly delicious. Have never seen them at a farmers market here in the DC area.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bob W

            Lima Beans can be found in Fairfax county markets and the Saturday Falls Church Market. Mostly shelled but some vendors sell them in their pods. Typically you can find them mid-July through first frost.

          2. In Mi we have awesome sweet corn this year. The peach festival is this weekend. We have The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City around the fourth of July and in the Fall as the colors turn the apple orchards are just as inviting as any Napa winery in their own way. Of course we have wineries as well on the Leelanau Peninsula.
            Tomatos this year are just not the best. Local green beans are great right now and we have strawberries in the spring.

            1. I agree with stone fruits in SoCal, as well as much tastier avocados, and a seeming abundance of fennel in the spring and summer.

              Not a farmer's market product, but one I miss from my days on the East Coast - Ugli fruit. I could find them from the east coast to Chicago, but have never seen one further west. They ship from Jamaica, so I guess California is just too far...

              1. Fallon Nevada grows "hearts 'o gold" cantaloupes. They are without a doubt the sweetest melon I've ever tasted.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nvcook

                  For us, it's Pecos (TX) cantaloupe - not a brand, but a regional deliciousness.

                2. In Virginia Beach I became addicted to scuppernongs. A type of thick-skinned grape also known as muscadines. They are in the farmer's market around September, I think. Truthfully I am not sure because fall in the south is so much warmer than up north and I get confused.

                  1. Well, it's not produce, as I wouldn't say I've found anything all that unique here in Phoenix, but you'll find Mesquite Honey at almost every farmer's market here (Orange blossom, too, but Mesquite is my favorite). We do have an Olive Oil Mill here, too, but I've never seen it at farmer's markets.

                    1. Wild blueberries in Maine.