Voracious this year is celebrating our local farmers markets with a series of poems extolling what's newly ripe and ready for sale. Each week during market season, we'll run a poem from a local poet who's found inspiration in the region's bounty. And should you find yourself feeling similarly inspired after reading their odes to romaine lettuce, nectarines, pea vines and gooseberries, the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance has provided us with recipes featuring each of the edible muses.
little blue hen
Poet Kate Lebo, who's written about rhubarb and green garlic for our Producing Poetry series, has devised an especially ingenious method of creating her farmers market poems: She selectively erases words from the featured fruit or vegetable's Wikipedia page, leaving a poem in the scrubbed words' wake.
So it's entirely appropriate that Lebo, whose work makes explicit how artists pick and choose, volunteered to celebrate a hybrid meant to showcase the best qualities of two different fruits. The pluot or aprium is 70 percent apricot and 30 percent plum.
When legendary horticulturist Luther Burbank first crossed the fruits, he settled for a 50-50 split. But in the century since Burbank's first experiments, growers have perfected the tasty mongrel, producing dozens of pluot and aprium varieties. All of them are sweeter than a true apricot or plum.
According to NPR, pluots are especially popular, and now account for the majority of plum sales. "You might be eating a pluot or an aprium and not even know it," a reported confided in a 2009 segment, referring to grocers' reluctance to confuse consumers with unfamiliar terms or create dedicated space for another fruit.
That's not a problem at the farmers market, where growers are on hand to answer questions about what's for sale. Just like Lebo, they know exactly what they do and don't want in their work.Pluot by Kate Lebo
Rhubarb Tarts with Aprium Glaze from the Tarts in the Kitchen blog.
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp water
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 c. sliced rhubarb
1 approximately 10x16 sheet of puff pastry, thawed if store bought, cut into 4 or 8 pieces (depending on how large you want your pastries)
Slice the aprium and mash it through a sieve into a bowl. No need to peel it first: the sieve will take care of that.
To the fruit puree and juices add the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/4 c. water, and 1/4 c. brown sugar. Whisk until combined.
Slice the rhubarb at an angle (to create longer slices). Add the rhubarb to the aprium mixture and toss to coat with the liquid. Let marinate for 30 minutes.
Prepare puff pastry by cutting it into the desired shape and size. With a sharp knife, cut lines jut deep enough to mark the folding edges: this will help the puff pastry rise at the border.
Scoop rhubarb pieces out of the marinade with a fork or slotted spoon, and arrange in the center of each piece of dough.
Bake the tarts at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until the crust is golden.
While the tarts bake, transfer the remaining aprium marinade into a small pot and add 2 tbsp. water and 2 tbsp sugar.
Simmer the mixture on low heat, whisking occasionally, for about 5 minutes until it become a glaze (a thick syrup).
When the tarts come out of the over brush them all over, (crust included), with the aprium glaze. Let the tarts cool for a few additional minutes before serving.