This week I ate arugula from a local farm, asparagus from east of the mountains, and rhubarb from the community table at the farmers’ market. But my favorite discovery last Friday was a display of the first bunches of Calliope Farm’s salad turnips. A few years ago, they confessed in a newsletter that around the farm they call the turnips “ice cream.” Perfect. Not only do they look like miniature scoops of vanilla, but they’re sweet and mild. It would be hard to stop eating them. They’re what I’ve always wanted radishes to be.
Last weekend at the beach, I brought along one bunch and we made a salad of turnips. I didn’t even wash the greens (we’re supposed to be eating more dirt anyway); I tore them from the stems, coated them with a light layer of oil, salt, and lemon juice and tossed slices of the turnips on top. There’s so much springtime in those bites. I’m glad Calliope grows them twice, once in the spring and again in fall, when we’re starting to saying goodbye to tender greens.
Even though salad makings are only now starting to appear, on the writing front I’m up to my shoulders in autumn foods. The editing and photography schedule for a seasonal magazine is a little crazy – writers have to compose stories about watermelon in the middle of winter or try to remember around Halloween what a fresh pea tastes like when you pluck one out of the garden.
But the subject of my first story in Edible Seattle is something you can eat year-round. It was about this time of year, in fact, when I first picked up a bottle of de Mars’s Rooster Sauce at Spring Arts Walk in Olympia. After Brian slathered some on a breakfast burrito, rooster sauce came up in conversation more often than you might expect. I finally dabbed some on a cracker (I’m not one for a lot of heat) and gave it a try. Spicy hot – yes. But big and flavorful. I started mixing it into a little cooking oil just before scrambling my eggs and putting it out with the salt and pepper on the dinner table.
The story behind the bottles is a good one and introducing Seattle readers to John’s sauce is a great debut. This is a photo of John that didn’t make the cut – outside the Olympia Food Co-op on a really cold December afternoon.
Here’s a preview. To read the article, pick up a copy of the current edition (May/June 2014) or subscribe to Edible Seattle by clicking here. You can find the sauce in many Seattle area stores. Since the article went to print, de Mars’s Rooster Sauce has also landed in PCC Natural Markets.