Brined tomatoes, cucumbers or asparagus pair well with seared fish, or make a tangy addition to salads

Intro by Pam George  Photograph by Scott Nathan
From the July 2014 issue

PickledPlethora-byScottNathanPickling and preserving were once the purview of farmers and avid vegetable gardeners. No longer. Pickling is a hot food trend for 2014, according to two surveys: Allrecipes.com’s “The Measuring Cup Trend Report” and the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2014.”

Krista Scudlark, owner of Milton-based Backyard Jams and Jellies, has witnessed the popularity firsthand. “I can’t keep my bread-and-butter pickles in stock,” says Scudlark, who uses her father’s recipe. Some customers order by the case.

As of May, Milton-based Dogfish Head had gone through 97 5-gallon buckets of its branded pickles, sold at the company’s Rehoboth brewpub and from its food truck. (Each bucket holds 213 servings.) “And we haven’t even hit peak season,” says Mariah Calagione, vice president of the microbrewery. That tally does not include the packaged Dogfish Head pickles sold in Whole Foods and other stores.

 At the Matt Haley Companies, which has eight coastal restaurants, pickling is as routine as making soups. “We pickle anything when it’s in season,” says corporate chef Doug Ruley. “We’ve pickled ramps, green beans and asparagus, which we use in bloody marys in summertime. We also pickle a medley of carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, squash and onion.”

Tender asparagus spears signal the arrival of spring

Intro By Pam George
From the April 2014 issue

asparagusWhile strawberries are still ripening on the vine and green onions have their bulbs buried in the ground, one leggy vegetable is ripe for the picking.

Asparagus is the true sign that farm stands are open for business. In fact, the Fifer Orchards’ Dewey Beach location opens only when the asparagus is ready, anytime from March to mid-April.

Those in the know agree that area asparagus packs a tastier punch than supermarket spears purchased in winter or summer.

“It’s similar to tomatoes in that respect,” says Mike Fennemore, whose family owns Fifer Or-chards, which is based in Camden-Wyoming. “There’s a huge difference in the flavor profile. The asparagus you see in winter is from South America and has to travel a long way, then [is] kept in storage.”

Growing the popular veggie takes patience. Fifer farmers dig deep trenches to plant the “crowns,” the root system of a year-old asparagus plant, which is grown from seed.