nettles, cress & Mexican street food - oh my!

may 13, 2016 Ok - so many of you celebrated all things "Mexico" last week but the Hastings Farmers' Market likes to do things a little differently so we are celebrating catorce de Mayo...That's right. This week, we bring you Mariachi Mexico - a restaurant in Armonk run by a Yonkers native that wants to bring authentic Mexican street food to our market plaza. They are trying us out this Saturday to see if it is feasible to commit for the summer.

Honestly - they had us at "we use Milpa de Rosa tortillas." For those of you who don't know Milpa de Rosa is the new tortilleria (tortilla factory) in Yonkers operated by the same folks who own Saint George in Hastings and Harper's in Dobbs Ferry. These fresh, all natural nixtamal tortillas are the real deal: ie - they have no shelf life. You buy them and eat them the same day. They are that fresh - and, consequently, that authentically delicious. So we are eager to see what Mariachi Mexico is going to prepare for us. Please give them the usual warm Hastings welcome.

Meanwhile - spring is happening in fits and spurts and between rain drops.If you're itching to get to your garden - know that Sun Sprout Farms is bringing potted dill, cilantro, kale, parsley, tomatoes, eggplants, oregano, basil and peppers. And, of course, Orchards of Concklin will have their mini nursery on wheels. I bought some bright yellow dahlias from them at another market last week and I beam every time I glimpse them through my kitchen window.

Sun Sprout Farm will also have nettles. If, like my daughters, you've had a stinging run-in with these and are afraid to go near them let alone eat them - please reconsider. Cooking removes the stingy stuff, leaving only the woodsy-flavored leaves behind. Handle fresh nettles with gloves and you will be fine. Here are 8 great nettlerecipes from to try. Sun Sprout will also have fresh peppery watercress.

My parents used to forage for cress in the canyon creeks of Los Angeles. My mother would collect it in red and white striped restaurant torchons that my father brought home from work, and she would unceremoniously dump huge piles of the damp, slightly muddy cress on our kitchen table before getting to work on a soup that, to this day, brings warmth and comfort on a cold spring day like today. She is visiting and we made a vat of it last week during that spate of rain and were so grateful to find a quarter of a Bien Cuit miche tucked away in the freezer to go with it.

A word to the wise - grab your nettles and cress quickly as they are likely to vanish by hour two of the market. (Ditto with those slender, two-tone French radishes at Neversink Farm or the tender asparagus. 

Of course, if you were volunteering at the market, you'd get first dibs.That's one of the perks of being a market volunteer. Want to find out what some of the other perks are? Come to our first ever market volunteer "open house" THIS THURSDAY May 19th at the Library.We will be gathering at 7 p.m. There will be wine and cheese...and, we hope, lots of sign-ups for the summer market.

And, since we are talking dates - make sure to keep Sunday June 12th  afternoon open for a cocktail party feting both Sue Smith and Sue Feir. Sue Feir, of course, is our fearless Librarian who recently retired. Sue Smith planted the first seed for this farmer's market 20 years ago and is finally going to get some well-earned rest and enjoy the market as a shopper - not a worker-bee. Tickets for the party at the Library ($25 in advance and $35 at the door) are available at the Library and will be on sale at the market tomorrow.  All proceeds will go toward enhancing the green space the market and library share.

HEF tickets will also be available at the market...for convenient one-stop shopping between rain drops.

See you at the market!