Of all Rabins' endeavors, the one that has really struck a chord is the Underground Farmer's Market, which goes beyond miner's lettuce
and sea asparagus to homemade local foods, including such quirky but relatively mainstream fare as cucumber marmalade, raw chocolate mousse, pickled vegetables, and quince butter.
Chef Jack Strong's menu features five courses: alder smoked oysters, cedar plank salmon, miner's lettuce
and watercress with goat cheese, fillet of beef served with spring vegetables and a dessert of rhubarb ice cream with filbert shortcake.
Along with other cold-season vegetables, try Miner's lettuce
(Montia perfoliata), a shade-tolerant Western native with tender, funnel-shaped leaves, grown extensively in Europe as a commercial salad plant.
If you want to join in, learn before you go, says Peter Martinelli, an organic farmer in Bolinas, California, who gathers and sells watercress, nettles, and miner's lettuce
. "My grandmother used to send me down to the creek to forage wild watercress when I was a kid," Martinelli says.
Wants: Bedford Fillbasket brussels, Catskill brussels, broccoli de Cicco, Ohkura daikon, miner's lettuce
, red leaf vegetable amaranth, lingua di canario lettuce, New Mexico cave bean, purple serrano, Thai hot pepper, pepperocino pepper, jalapeno, yellow custard scallop, Costata Romanesco squash, blue Hubbard, pink banana, Long Island cheese squash, sweet dumpling squash, flat white Boer squash, kindred squash, black krim, coustralee, giant paste, black plum, red pear, Anna Russian, Cherokee purple, Moskvich, German, striped German, Early Stone Age wheat, kamut wheat, hulled oats, amaranth and quinoa