Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What Is and Is Not Local, Maxwell Street Market - May 25, 2008

The Lime That's Key

I figure any show that's good enough for Paul Virant should be good enough for me, so I've watched a few episodes of Iron Chef America. A Judge Jeffrey Steingarten comment irked me. It was something along the lines of "everyone knows the best pistachios come from Sicily." Maybe great pistachios come from Sicily, but one thing I have learned in local is that great anything come producers who care, who work for it. I bet, I bet for sure, that there's some farmer in California growing "local" pistachios that are as good as anything just plain ol' Sicilian. What I'm getting at, is that when I'm making the occasional non-local purchase, I want to get something that's more than just standard accepted foodie blather, the everyone knows stuff. Or put it this way, I may buy limes all the time, but I rarely blog about limes.

At Maxwell Street, last Sunday, I got limes worth blogging about. Yellow limes. As my wife, the native Floridian will tell you, "everyone knows that key limes are yellow." She, after all, had a key lime tree in her front yard. Yet, you rarely, if ever see yellow limes in the markets around here. And I'm talking about key limes that will show up at Mexican markets and even Trader Joe's. See most of the limes that hit are markets are pulled from the tree so far before ripe you never see their true colors. That's what I'm looking for in my non-local. At Maxwell, they were $1 per basket, about 15 limes per basket. Hopefully you can find them next week at the market, but given the seasonality of these limons, I wonder if you will.

I also wonder if you will be able to walk into the Whole Foods there, on Canal, and find some local asparagus. Local just aint easy to find at Whole Foods these days. Still, this Whole Foods on this Sunday was selling Michigan asparagus for $3.49/lb; I thought that seemed pricey, but at checkout my bundle came to less than a pound. They made a great addition to that night's fried rice.

New Maxwell Street Market run up and down Canal, near Roosevelt from 7 AM until 3 PM every Sunday.

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