- tcamp Aug 20, 2009 08:59 AM
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.