Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sustainable Saturday - Garlic Scapes and Sorrel

The Farmers Market season is in full swing in the Binghamton, New York area with the opening of the downtown Binghamton farmers market yesterday.  Due to major road construction nearby (they are building a roundabout) I fear the market will be smaller than in previous years.

I went there yesterday and it did seem to be less well attended. Some regulars had shown up, including a vendor of baked goods that has sold there for years, and someone selling local strawberries.  Yes, our local strawberries are coming in now - but because of the rain, I'm told they are very watery tasting. Too bad.

Another veggie for sale at our farmers markets is one available for just a short time - garlic scapes.  A perfect veggie for the person interested in sustainable gardening, as it makes use of a part of the garlic plant many people throw away.

You aren't going to find these at most chain supermarkets.

But if you have some land, you can easily grow these in your garden, even if you only have limited space.

What are garlic scapes?  They are the flower stalk of the garlic plant.  You can, and should, snap these off.  Many gardeners throw them away - but, please don't do that.  You are missing out on a wonderful taste treat.  These garlic scapes are from our garden.

Picking the scapes is a little tricky, because you have to get them before they become tough.  Once you do, then what?  There are a lot of garlic scape recipes online.  As for ours above, my spouse is going to steam them briefly and then put them into a pasta/veggie salad, along with red and yellow pepper, cauliflower, and snow peas from our garden.

Today's Otsiningo Park Farmers Market was held in overcast weather, but many people came out to buy.  Besides the garlic scapes, to my delight, we were able to find some sorrel.  Sorrel is not something you usually find at the market, and I immediately purchased one of these bunches.  The same vendor was also offering lettuce, and easter egg radishes.

I love schav, a cold sorrel soup served with sour cream.  It was a staple of my childhood, and that is how this sorrel will be used.

Other vendors were offering baked goods, lettuce, broccoli rabe and rhubarb.

Our last stop was an egg vendor, for some large free range eggs.  This vendor had set up an educational exhibit.  The egg on the left is a pullet egg, the type of egg laid when a hen first comes into production.  On the right, is the egg of a very mature hen,of an age your usual commercial chicken will never live to see.

Support sustainable agriculture and your local farmer.  Visit a Farmers Market today.

Do you have farmers markets where you live?  What is being sold right now?


  1. So far ours has has (in addition to all sorts of crafts and our books) starter plants and rhubarb. I'm hoping for some early lettuce and radishes soon.Probably another week at least before the first greenhouse tomatoes show up. I'll mention it with the Alaska weather on Mondays, as I'm there almost every day it's open.

  2. I bought a quart of local strawberries at a farmers' market here, and they were indeed flavorless. Two years in a row now the strawberries have been disappointing. :( I have, however, been enjoying bags of lettuce and baby spinach from the market!

    I planted garlic last fall, but I haven't seen any flower stems yet. I'll be sure to look for them.


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