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More Chat Leftovers: Duck, Duck, Squash


Roasted squash gives an early taste of summer. (Leah L. Jones for The Washington Post)

Some of our many Free Range chat questions on Wednesdays are so time-sensitive that if we're too swamped to answer them during the 1-2 p.m. window, following up isn't very helpful. If the challenge is dinner tonight, an answer tomorrow misses the point.

This is not one of those questions.

Looking for sides and local source for duck: I’m planning on making the following menu for our upcoming anniversary in two weeks: duck breast with port wine and dried cherries; pommes dauphine; vegetable? I’m not sure what I want to do for the vegetable, I want it to be in season, but figure we may be asparagused out by then. Might baby squash start showing up by then? Also, I would love to get the duck from a local source, but have no idea where to look -- does anyone know if any of the farmers markets have a duck vendor?

You're on the right track. First, your vegetable idea. Ann Yonkers of FreshFarm Markets says, "Eli Cook of Spring Valley Farm and Orchard is bringing greenhouse-grown baby zucchini to market now and expects to have field-grown yellow squash in a couple weeks, as do several other growers. The baby zucchini is limited, 150 pounds a week." Spring Valley sells at the Dupont and Silver Spring markets, among others. Not that you asked, but Stephanie Sedgwick had this nice recipe for Roasted Summer Squash with Herb Medley that would work well with babies.

Now for the duck.

Call or email Daniel or Lois Shirk at Pecan Meadow Farm: bluemountainbeef@juno.com or 717-423-5365. The Shirks have a stand at the 14th and U market on Saturdays and sell whole Muscovy ducks there if you contact them in advance to order. They're males, which is good for breast purposes, as the birds are 7 to 9 pounds and $6 a pound, as opposed to the hens, which are half that size. Daniel tells me you should allow a few days for them to thaw in the refrigerator, so depending on the timing of your anniversary dinner, you might buy one this weekend so you won't be rushed.

While you're there, you might also try their duck eggs. They had a special on them this past weekend, pricing them at $4 a dozen (the same as chicken eggs), and I can't stop eating them. Bigger yolk, richer flavor, smoother texture. Yum.

By the way, happy anniversary.

-- Joe Yonan

By Joe Yonan  |  May 14, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  To Market, To Market  | Tags: Free Range, Joe Yonan, duck, farmers markets, squash  
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Comments

Misty and Eli Cook are at the Burke Farmers Market on Saturdays at the Burke VRE station, if you are looking for a Virginia location (or can drive 5 miles beyond the beltway on a Saturday morning).

Posted by: janedoe5 | May 14, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

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