So many things to tell you this week! Some quick items —

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    Village Acres eggs still in the nest; doesn’t get much fresher than that.

    Bread. Kevin & Melinda of McGrath’s Bakehouse are on vacation this week. We have a great stock of their breads frozen (including a few loaves of Jalapeno Cheddar!), and will have fresh Talking Breads on Thursday and Saturday. We will have only frozen bread on Friday.

  2. Cheese. As I hinted last week, Dusty and I paid a visit to the Valley Shepherd stand at the Reading Terminal Market while we were in Philly over the weekend, and we returned with a smattering of our favorites from them. This week is Third in the Burg, so join us at 5pm on Friday for a tasting! (And to drink some wine.)
  3. Eggs! Village Acres’ pastured eggs (those with the gorgeous orange yolks) are on sale this week for $4.50/dozen. See my ramblings below for thoughts on why you should take advantage of this…and some great pics of the Village Acres hens!

To skip my ramblings, just scroll down to view what we have this week!

Sticking with me? Here are my thoughts on eggs in April:

Eating locally and seasonally sometimes means going without certain items when they’re out of season. Fresh tomatoes, of course, are the classic example of this. The flipside of that, though, is that when things are bountiful — zucchini in August, maybe? — we get creative to keep up with nature’s production. I usually think of this phenomenon as being specific to produce, since we can get dairy year-round, meat freezes, and grains store well — but one of the things I’m learning through the stand is that this applies to eggs, too.

Back in November, Deb from Village Acres started warning me that as their hens slowed production through the winter, they might have trouble keeping up with our demand for eggs. And sure enough, as December and January came on, we were selling more and more eggs, but the hens were laying fewer and fewer. The price of eggs went up temporarily; we started stocking a few dozen a week from another supplier; and every now and then, we sold out anyway.

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Village Acres hens on their pasture

And then! SPRING. Village Acres’ chicks became pullets and started laying little tiny eggs, and then the pullets became hens and starting laying full-size eggs. At the same time, the existing members of the flock, while nearing the end of their productive laying lives, were enlivened by the sun, and their production increased again as well.

Which brings us to where we are now — the young hens are laying laying laying, and the older hens are still going strong, too. Later in the season, the older hens will slow down; when the days get shorter again, everyone will slow down. Next January, we may once again be scrambling (no pun intended) to keep eggs on the shelves. But now, in April, we have the opposite “problem”. Which means — it’s egg-eating season! (Don’t you think they should invent a spring holiday that involves lots of eggs? Oh wait….)

Interestingly (at least to me), even before I consciously thought about this, I noticed that Dusty and I have been eating a lot more eggs recently, and not just because of Easter. Some of it’s just because they’re so easy, but it’s also just part of what we’re craving. With braising greens back in force, we love a pile of braised kale or collards with a couple of fried eggs on top or on the side. When even chopping kale seems like too much work, we have a big green salad with a couple of fried eggs (always on the side in this case) and some hunks of McGrath’s Original (popped in the oven for a few minutes before serving to crisp up that crust). With fresh chevre back in force and scallions making an appearance, I have a feeling there are some scallion and chevre omelets in our future. That Valley Shepherd Somerset — a BIG gruyere-style cheese — would be a mean pairing, too.

Hens in the hen house.

The Village Acres hen house.

One of the things I love about eating locally and seasonally is the challenge — what to do with six zucchinis in August? how to handle the months when there are no onions available? how many different kinds of winter squash can I eat in one week? And now — how many fritattas can I make with what’s available now! (Answer: more than I can eat!)

We’d love to hear about what you’re doing with eggs this time of year — leave a comment below, post it to Facebook, or tag us on Instagram (@radishandrye).

And just in case you haven’t noticed yet — I’m getting reports that, thanks to all the young layers, there are many double-yolked eggs making their way into cartons. Some people think this is good luck; I’m not much for superstition, but hey, it can’t hurt, right? 🙂

Julia

 

Produce

 

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Braising Greens

  • Young Rainbow Chard
  • Curly Kale
  • More Kale (small quantities of several varieties)
  • Bok Choy
  • Collards

Salad Greens

  • Arugula
  • Frilly Golden Mustard Greens
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Mesclun Mix
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Baby Red Russian Kale
  • Young Spinach

Onions & Garlic

  • Spring Garlic!
  • Garlic
  • Scallions (limited quantities)
  • Shallots

Apples

  • Cameo
  • Granny Smith

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Root Veggies

  • French Breakfast Radishes (slightly higher quantity than last week…)
  • Black Radishes
  • Orange Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Golden Turnips
  • Red Beets
  • Rutabagas
  • Watermelon Radishes

Potatoes

  • Russet Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes

Mushrooms

  • Cremini Mushrooms
  • White Mushrooms

Squash

  • Butternut Squash

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Cheese

 

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Keswick Creamery

  • Blue Suede Moo
  • Brie
  • Morbier
  • Quark
  • Ricotta
  • Vermeer
  • Wallaby
  • Wine-Washed Tomme

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Lykens Valley Creamery

  • Baby Swiss
  • Clothbound Cheddar
  • Colby
  • Goat Gouda
  • Cheddar
  • Sharp Cheddar
  • Smoked Cheddar

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Valley Shepherd Creamery

  • Oldwick Shepherd
  • Red Goat
  • Somerset
  • Hunterdon
  • Smokey Shepherd
  • Something else I can’t remember off the top of my head?

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Other

  • Apple Tree Feta
  • Camelot Valley Chevre
  • Camelot Valley Feta
  • Camelot Valley Moonlight Fog
  • Hope Springs Mild Cheddar
  • Hope Springs Monterey Jack

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Bread

 

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McGrath’s Brick Oven Bakehouse (frozen only)

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Talking Breads (Fresh Thursday & Saturday; limited quantities frozen on Friday)

  • Batard
  • Ciabatta
  • Miche
  • Pugliese
  • Seeded

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