Natalie is a Computer Science graduate turned Software Developer living in Moreno Valley, CA. The highlight of accomplishing her MS was presenting for the third IEEE International Conference on Space Mission Challenges for Information Technology. Though she adores science, she is most passionate about great food, heavy metal, and kitties.
Farmers Market Update: Riverside, CA
By Natalie Wiser-Orozco
Riverside, CA is one of the jewels of the Inland Empire. The beautiful architecture downtown sets the perfect stage for a quaint one-block farmers market every Saturday on Main Street, rain or shine!
Every Saturday morning, though I do love to sleep in, I am always excited to get down to the market. My husband and I have been frequenting this fruit and vegetable paradise for a few years now, and I just can’t get enough of the local produce, free-range chicken, and eggs.
Prior to visiting the farmer’s market, I had heard about the benefits of buying food from these kinds of places. Not only are you supporting local farms, but most of the growers are certified organic in the surrounding area, meaning no icky pesticides to consume. The thing that really got me hooked on the idea was the taste and quality of the vegetables. We took carrots home the very first trip, among other things, and I was astounded. The carrots tasted so sweet, and, well – like carrots! The ones from the grocery store were so bland and boring compared to these.
Now that we’ve been on the circuit for awhile, if I miss a week, I get grumpy. Who wants to settle for bland produce? Not this gal. The market has really helped me learn what produce will be present for each season. It also helps distinguish the seasons themselves here in Southern California. When you’ve got 74 degree highs in the middle of winter, it can be hard to tell them apart.
It’s winter in Riverside, meaning that my favorite citrus has arrived. About two years ago, we stumbled onto the blood orange when our favorite vendor had them on display. We went nuts for them! They have a slight earthy flavor compared to their counterparts, but are sweet vehicles of goodness. I always think of beets when I eat them, because the color is so similar and fantastic.
This week, along with stocking up on blood oranges, I found some exceptional Clementines – a citrus I hadn’t tried before, and some gorgeous baby kale. I have been hearing of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar that hasn’t been pasteurized, so I picked up some of that as well.
One booth has beautiful beeswax candles that smell great and clean the air, rather than pollute it like regular petroleum based candles. Finally, a must-have every week is the free-range chicken and eggs. The chicken is so tender and delicious. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the supermarket brands.
The vendors are all so friendly here, and most are pesticide free and organic. It makes “grocery shopping” a pleasurable experience rather than a chore, and the quality is un-matched. If you haven’t already, I urge you to support your local farms while simultaneously upgrading your healthstyle!
This weekend’s haul:
- Blood Oranges, Bosc Pear, and Clementines (Hillside Family Farms, San Diego, CA (310) 529-2361)
- Cauliflower and Green Beans (RS Farms, Riverside, CA)
- Baby Kale and Butternut Squash (Sage Mountain Farm, Aguanga, CA)
- Dried Apples and Apple Cider Vinegar (Ha’s Apple Farm, Tehachapi, CA)
- Free Range Chicken and Eggs (La Bahn Ranch, Temecula, CA)
- Blackberries, Blueberries, and Raspberries (Brenda’s Berry Farm, Nipomo, CA)
- Yellow Onions (Gama Farms, Arvin, CA)
- Squaw Bread (Old Town Bakery, 8631 Baseline Rd., Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730)
If you’d like to share your farmers market experience at Summer Tomato, please read this.