If you only know bamboo shoots from cans and take-out Chinese food, you really ought to check out the fresh ones that Joe Dobie is harvesting on his Mt. Hermon farm. But do it quick, because they're only available for a couple of weeks each spring. Dobie gets his from a 70-year-old grove at Briarhill Farms, where the bamboo grows as much as a foot per day, reaching heights of as much as 62 feet. "I cut them when they're about 18 inches tall and still tender," he says. "Then I boil them down and put them in jars with a little garlic or salt."
Tasting a bit like almonds, with the texture of artichoke hearts, fresh
bamboo shoots are great in a stir-fry or simmered with shrimp in
coconut milk. Trust us, it'll be hard to go back to the cans.
Dobie's bamboo, of course, is not a native plant. But he does have a spring crop of Gulf South mayhaws that are coming in right about the same time (and for a similarly short run). Originally, mayhaws were found in the wild throughout the Southeastern U.S.; most now come from grafted trees planted in orchards. The small berry-like fruit isn't usually eaten right off the tree, but any real Southerner knows it makes some fantastic jelly. Dobie says he should have some mayhaws available for the next two to three weeks, so grab 'em while you can!
Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.