Farmers Market Update: What’s the point?

by | Jun 28, 2009
Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes

Healthy eating starts with fresh, seasonal produce, preferably from your local farmers market.

Years ago when I started my column at Synapse and began advocating seasonal vegetables as the best path to health, one of the most common questions I got was, “How do I know what’s in season?”

In response to this I wrote my first Farmers Market Update, and this has become one of the cornerstones of Summer Tomato.

There are many reasons I write these updates every week, but occasionally it is important to step back and make sure my objectives are met with each post.

Here are the main goals I aim to achieve with my Farmers Market Updates:

Education

As mentioned above, I hope that by reading these Farmers Market Updates you will get a feel for what is in season. Even if you are shopping at your local supermarket, seasonal produce is your best bet.

Follow along to get a general idea of what you should be eating this time of year.

Inspiration

For me just seeing the beautiful vegetables, fruit and other goodies at the farmers market makes me want to spend the rest of the weekend in the kitchen–and I’m not exactly the domestic type. With Farmers Market Updates I hope to inspire you to find your own local markets and look for the best seasonal produce you can find.

Going to the farmers market is by far the best part of my week and I wish you could all experience it with me. I realize not everyone has the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to wake up to on Saturday mornings, but your own farmers market is still better than anything you will find at a big chain store.

There is nothing like spending a little time with the local farmers that grow the food you eat. Every meal you prepare with these ingredients is special, even if it isn’t exotic.

Demonstration

I’m the first to admit that cooking can be scary and the thought of it overwhelming. Most of us were never taught how to use a stove, let alone poach an egg. But we are extremely proficient at using Google to help us figure things out, right?

Cooking is no exception.

I make a point of finding things at my farmers market that I do not know how to cook. Why? Because exploring new foods is one of the most important things in making healthy eating fun and enjoyable. You can even rediscover foods you think you don’t like by buying them at the height of season and learning to cook them properly.

I promise, liking things is more fun than not liking things :D

I try to convey this sense of adventure in my Farmers Market Updates. This week, for example, I bought all the flavors I associate with Thai food even though I do not have a specific recipe in mind. I also purchased some lemon cucumbers simply because they looked cool.

You do not need to know how to cook something before you buy it. Vegetables are cheap, just get what looks good and figure the rest out later. Email me if you need suggestions!

———-

Farmers Market Update

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Brown Turkey Figs

Brown Turkey Figs

Summer officially started this week in San Francisco (according to me). With melons and figs popping up all over the place, there is no way I can keep sitting here and telling you it is springtime.

Woohoo!

Thai Basil

Thai Basil

Purple & White Peppers

Purple & White Peppers

Summer tomatoes are already fabulous, summer squash are as sweet as can be (especially the yellow Zephyrs!) and who knew there were so many kinds of cucumber? Green garlic has morphed into the bulbous “fresh garlic.” Green beans are starting to appear and there are 2 kinds of basil. Not one, but two!

Darya is happy.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Fresh Garlic

Fresh Garlic

Check out my first Farmers Market Update video from my new apartment. It is just under 3 minutes.

Today’s Purchases:

What did you find at the market this week?

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11 Responses to “Farmers Market Update: What’s the point?”

  1. I want to thank you for an informative post.

    Thing about the purple peppers, they do best in a salad, because they rapidly lose their color when they are cooked.

    I do want to recommend that you do something about your settings for your youtube video, as it is currently telling me that I need to be your friend in order to access it. :)

    • Darya Pino says:

      Thanks for letting me know! I used a new program to upload it and must have missed that setting.

      Great advice on the peppers, we were just discussing that on Twitter :)

  2. Matt Shook says:

    A good farmers market is indispensable…especially this time of year when there is an abundance of food on the market (yay, pun!) and good deals to be had.

    My advice is pretty much re-iterating the Summer Tomato mantra…I believe cooking is one of the most rewarding activities I do. It’s not hard to become a good or even competent cook. Like a lot of skills in life…it just takes time and practice. Also, develop your own recipes based on your personal tastes and build them up over time. My best dishes are ones that started out simply and I’ve slowly modded or upgraded over 2-3 years.

    Oh, and don’t be afraid to mess up a meal…it’s part of the learning process. ;)

  3. Lisa says:

    The video won’t play for me, it’s set to “private”!

  4. Ah, can’t watch this video now because I’m on the bus but good for you going multimedia! I am forever jealous of your farmers market so maybe it’s best I don’t see everything in living color anyway :-)

  5. Great post! I don’t visit a local farmer’s market, but my family does grow much of our vegetables during the summer, which is even a step better than the farmer’s market in my mind. I probably should stop by there some time and see what other veggies they have though. I totally agree with you, we are better off eating in season, instead of artificially ripened, or out of region vegetables.

  6. Allie says:

    I bought lemon cucumbers for the same reason :)

    I also did Thai eggplant last week, but I had trouble getting a good sauce with just soy sauce, oil and a touch of rice vinegar. Do you use fish sauce??

    • Darya Pino says:

      Ha ha, cool!

      My eggplant turned out fantastic! I cooked it with yellow squash and a whole lot of Thai basil. I sauteed some green shallot in coconut oil, then sauteed grated ginger, green chilies, lemongrass and garlic with fish sauce and light soy sauce. I cooked the eggplant first, then added it back with the squash. Basil last. Yum!!

  7. Dan says:

    Wonderful photo of the purple and white bell peppers. Anyway to obtain the names of the varieties? Dan

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