Farmers Market Update: SummWinter

by | Oct 18, 2009
Hot Sauce

Hot Sauce

If I were only going to talk about one thing today it would have to be the peppers. What a season we are having! There are so many varieties I’m having trouble deciding what to buy each week.

Saturday I learned that ancho chilies–which I have only had dried–are actually just mature poblano peppers. Poblanos are the big dark green peppers (left in the photo below) that come stuffed with cheese and breaded in egg batter when you order chile relleno. (A good chile relleno might be my favorite Mexican food ever, but only from here. Half my family is Mexican, so I’m a little picky.)

This is the first time I’ve seen red Japanese Shishito peppers as well. They are usually green.

Red Japanese Shishito Peppers

Red Japanese Shishito Peppers

Ancho Chilies

Ancho Chilies

Anyway, I didn’t know you could ever find fresh anchos. For some reason I thought ancho defined some specific preparation of chili like chipotle, which is a smoked jalepeno. But it seems they are a type of pepper unto themselves, but also a version of a pepper I was familiar with. Confusing, I know.

Since poblanos are often spicy I expected the anchos to be even more so (peppers get hotter with age), but they were actually really sweet with only a hint of spice. I had them in eggs. It was amazing.

I also found a new variety of eggplant today, the como eggplant. These eggplants are small and dark, almost black, and very firm. This is because they have very little water and thus do not require the pre-salt that most eggplants need. They are supposed to be very sweet, creamy and not at all bitter. I couldn’t help but buy a few from Allstar Organics.

…Not sure what to make of this other eggplant I found….

Nixon Eggplant or Tricky Dick?

Nixon Eggplant or Tricky Dick?

Como Eggplants

Como Eggplants

But despite the prevalence of all this beautiful summer produce, the signs of imminent winter are not subtle.

I saw the first early citrus this week, including Meyer lemons (not quite ripe) and sweet limes. If you’ve never had a sweet lime, imagine if you tasted a lime that wasn’t sour at all. Then imagine it tasting a little bit like fake lime flavor. It’s weird. You probably wouldn’t want to eat it like you would any other sweet citrus fruit, but it is fabulous in cocktails. They are certainly worth playing around with.

First Sweet Limes

First Sweet Limes

First Meyer Lemons

First Meyer Lemons

But let’s not jump too fast from summer to winter. Autumn is providing us with spectacular heirloom apples, pears, pomegranates and grapes. And today I found quince!

Quince is a very old fruit that is like a mix between an apple and a pear, except you can’t eat it raw. But bake it in the oven or into some dessert and quince takes on a sublime flavor and creamy consistency almost like jelly. I’m not much of a pastry chef, but I like to cut a quince in half and bake it for dessert now and then.

Quince

Quince

Swaar Dutch Apples

Swaar Dutch Apples

I’m also delighted to announce that the first chocolate persimmons of the year have appeared! They are at Hamada Farms, so go get some while you can. I didn’t buy any today because there was a huge black spider on them (not pictured…she was hiding) and I’m a wimp, but I totally would have. Totally.

Spinach

Spinach

First Chocolate Persimmons

First Chocolate Persimmons

Also notable is that Green Gulch Farm called it quits for the season today, they will return next spring. I bought some spinach to remember them by.

Despite the rain, the dry-farmed early girl tomatoes from Dirty Girl Produce were…wait for it…even better than usual this week. I realize this makes no sense, but I swear.

I was happy to find that I could still get Soul Food eggs from Prather Ranch. I wasn’t sure they would be available after the devastating fire a few weeks ago. Happy to see they are still truckin’ along :)

And last but not least, I couldn’t say no to these beets from Capay Organics. Beets are always a great deal because you get 2 dishes out of a bunch: the roots and the greens.

The broccoli is looking pretty darn good these days too.

Organic Broccoli

Organic Broccoli

Beautiful Beets

Beautiful Beets

Today’s Purchases:

What are you eating?

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13 Responses to “Farmers Market Update: SummWinter”

  1. Greg says:

    Great to see the Chocolate Persimmon! I have also noticed persimmons back at the farmers market….I even saw a cool rare species (which is notable since I live in an area where the farmers markets don’t have much variety), the Gingerbread Persimmon! I’ve never heard of it…I didn’t end up buying one, but when I do I’ll let you know how it is. Its kind of exciting!

  2. Peter says:

    Good update! Lots of intriguing stuff. Red shishitos; you should report on how they are. More of them spicy perhaps?

    Funny that Green Gulch doesn’t sell through winter; they still provide stuff for Greens through winter though, right? Green Gulch is a really nice garden to visit. The ride up is nice too; if you want to bike it I can tell you a way that avoids most of the traffic.

    I thought you could eat quince raw; isn’t it supposed to be the original forbidden “apple”?

    I went a little crazy this week and decided to make winter vegetables. Because the Co-Op had rutabega so that set me off and I ended up with turnips, beets, potatoes, and leeks. Probably too early for them, but I guess we’ll see. We’re moving to SoCal in a few weeks, so who knows what we’ll be able to get there. Other than Chile Relleno… yum!

    • Darya Pino says:

      Awesome! There are a bunch of great farmers markets in SoCal. You should start listening to the Good Food podcast immediately :)

      And yeah, Green Gulch is still growing, just not for the ferry bldg. They are still selling until Thanksgiving at the Mill Valley farmers market.

  3. Ninette says:

    I loved your post. It was very fun touring the farmer’s market with you, even if I don’t live on your coast. I was doing a lot of experimenting with chilies this weekend too.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Well thank you! Glad you stopped by. My goal with farmers market updates is to inspire local shopping and cooking with whole foods, so I try to make them useful for anyone reading.

  4. Erin says:

    Did they have any Chinese hot peppers? I’m desperate to get a pound, and my own plants aren’t going to produce enough this year.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Absolutely! I’ve been drying Thai and Chinese peppers all summer. Try Tierra Vegetables, Happy Quail Farms or Chue’s.

    • Darya Pino says:

      And may I ask what you’re making?

      • Erin says:

        Gonna salt a batch, and pickle a batch. I got just enough to dry this year.

      • Erin says:

        To better answer your question, they’re for Hunan cooking. I found a fantastic chile plant in Chinatown about 6 years ago – from what I can tell it’s a facing heaven pepper plant. We’ve got about 8 healthy plants this year and I think we can get them through the winter this time, but they haven’t produced enough peppers for us. I’m trying to make hunan salted chiles, my own Sichuan pickled peppers. Hopefully, next year, we’ll have enough to give homemade hot bean paste a go.

      • Darya Pino says:

        That is so hot ;)

  5. Looks like another great visit to the Farmer’s Market. By the way, how were those scotch bonnets last week?

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