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What: My instruction for this week: Purchase the vegetable I could least imagine serving. At the opening day of the Bloomingdale farmers market, I visited the new stand on the block—Mountain View Farm, an organic outfit located in Purcellville, Va. (For market regulars—they are replacing Snow Bear, which closed over the winter.)
How to buy: Shawna DeWitt suggested I try the Hakurei turnips ($3/four, each plum-sized)—a thin-skinned, white-fleshed Japanese variety. “Tastes like a cross between a turnip and a pear,” she told me. “And definitely don’t throw away the greens—they can be sautéed; try them with ginger and garlic.” She serves the turnips sliced raw (to the delight of her toddler), and suggested fermenting or pickling them. DeWitt will have the Hakureis for two more weeks; they will return in the fall and be even sweeter after the first frost.
How to eat: I’d be pressed to tell you what most other raw turnips taste like, but the fruity, radish-spicy flesh of the Harukeis was fantastic. I was a little bored by them sautéed, but the greens—cooked with olive oil, dried ginger, and salt and topped with thin slivers of the raw white bulb—were a smashing success with my visiting vegetarian. If you’re going to cook the greens, cut them off as soon as you get home—they’ll last longer.
Photo by Phoebe Connelly