Farmers Market Update: Fruit!

by | Jun 5, 2011
Sweetest Strawberries Ever

Sweetest Strawberries Ever

I don’t usually buy a lot of fruit. It’s not that I don’t like it, I think it’s wonderful. But it tends to be much more expensive than vegetables. And it’s also hard to get soft fruit home without smashing it.

But today, I couldn’t help myself.

Similar to last week, the cherries were just way too good to pass up.

Ranier Cherries

Ranier Cherries

But I also realized that I hadn’t even tried any of the newer fruit in the market, like these amazing blueberries. I sampled a few, and knew some would be coming home with me.

Delicious Blueberries

Delicious Blueberries

Then there were the plums. I love plums, but like tomatoes they are one of those fruits that are so rarely good that you forget what real ones taste like. Until you try one.

Fruits

Fruits

I thought it was a bit early in the season for plums to be good, but I was wrong. These were as sweet and luscious as I’d ever tasted, and of course I had to get some.

Virctoria Heirloom Rhubarb

Virctoria Heirloom Rhubarb

Amazingly, I still had to restrict myself from buying strawberries, even more cherries, and also some peaches I found that were unseasonably delicious. But I did have to save some of my money to get vegetables.

Radishes

Radishes

I’m mostly enjoying salads these days. I like them with French radishes, carrots, sugar peas, spring onions and usually some quinoa or lentils.

Beautiful Treviso

Beautiful Treviso

I’m not ready to buy them yet, but summer vegetables are becoming more common as well.

Early Summer Squash

Early Summer Squash

The strangest thing I found at the market this week was fresh Japanese ume plums, which I’ve only ever seen pickled. I might pick some up next week so if any of you have a recipe I’d love to hear it.

Ume Plums

Ume Plums

Today’s purchases (~$50):

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Farmers Market Update: Best Cherries Ever

by | May 29, 2011
Mountain of Cherries

Mountain of Cherries

I’ve been doing this farmers market thing for awhile now, and I have to say that cherries are without a doubt some of the most difficult fruit to photograph. They’re so bright red that it washes out nearly every detail on the fruit, and drowns every other color in the frame.

Consequently I rarely feature my cherry images, and today would have been no different if I didn’t think leaving them out would be a crime. Because anyone who went to the San Francisco farmers market this weekend knows that the cherries were the star of the show.

Tasty Strawberries

Tasty Strawberries

And that’s no small feat this time of year. Today I tasted a strawberry so good I thought it had been injected with sugar, because it reminded me more of the sweetened agua fresca drinks from the taquerias in the Mission district than it did any natural fruit.

But still the cherries were better. Not only that, they’re better than they were last year and possibly the year before that. Honestly it was difficult to not buy some from every farm I stopped at, and I do regret not coming home with more. Don’t miss the cherries this year folks.

Brooks Cherries

Brooks Cherries

Of course there were other notable spring treats as well. Rhubarb is here, and before the season ends I’m determined to try to figure out how to use it. Most of the recipes I’ve seen for it are sweet, which I’m not so excited about. If you know of any good savory recipe, please let me know.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Generally all the spring vegetables are still amazing. I’m especially loving the sweet spring onions, though I’m normally not a huge onion person. This year I’m adding green onions to everything from eggs to salad. The leeks are excellent too.

Spring Vegetables

Spring Vegetables

Oddly even summer produce is starting to appear. I was stunned today to see watermelon and peppers this early in the season. The vendor told me it was from their farm in Southern California, which makes a bit more sense.

First Watermelon

First Watermelons

But as much as I love summer, I’m not ready to skip ahead just yet. I still haven’t tried any of these beautiful blueberries on my morning muesli.

Blueberries

Blueberries

Nor have I found anything to do with green almonds yet this season.

Green Almonds

Green Almonds

And the last of the citrus fruits shouldn’t be ignored either. This late in the season tangelos, navel oranges and kumquats are the best. Though we had some spectacular blood orange juice this weekend as well.

Kumquats

Kumquats

It’s truly an amazing time of year for the farmers market. Don’t miss it.

Big Tomatoes

Big Tomatoes

Today’s purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: Speechless

by | May 1, 2011
Perfect Rainbow Chard

Perfect Rainbow Chard

Everything was so beautiful at the farmers market this weekend, I’m going to let my images speak for themselves.

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers

Spring Strawberries

Spring Strawberries

Red Radishes

Red Radishes

Pea Tendrils

Pea Tendrils

Lovely Spring Onions

Lovely Spring Onions

Organic Green Garlic

Organic Green Garlic

Heirloom Tomato

Heirloom Tomato

Fresh Sage

Fresh Sage

Lovely Carrots

Lovely Carrots

Baby Fava Beans

Baby Fava Beans

Early Cherries

Early Cherries

Bergamont & Chocolate Mint

Bergamont & Chocolate Mint

Purple Flowers

Purple Flowers

Today’s purchases:

Is your farmers market open yet?

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Farmers Market Update: Cherries, Fava Beans & Lamb Bacon

by | Apr 24, 2011
Artichokes

Artichokes

Huge thanks to my wonderful boyfriend today for stepping up and covering this week’s farmers market while I was home sick. But boy am I sad I missed it.

First Cherries

First Cherries

This week two of my favorite spring treats made their appearance: cherries and fava beans.

Fava Beans

Fava Beans

And though I’ve always known spring is the best time for lamb, I never dreamed of discovering lamb bacon. LAMB BACON! Holy crap is this stuff good.

Lamb Bacon

Lamb Bacon

Since I wasn’t there I don’t have much more to report. Check out the rest of Kevin’s photos below.

Leeks

Leeks

Asian Pears

Asian Pears

Blood Oranges

Blood Oranges

Daikon

Daikon

Strawberries

Strawberries

Green Garlic

Green Garlic

Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane

Ruby Chard

Ruby Chard

Today’s purchases:

Is your spring market open yet?

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Farmers Market Update: Maryland

by | Jun 27, 2010
Lapin & Hedlefingen Cherries

Lapin & Hedlefingen Cherries

My friend E began her healthstyle upgrade at the beginning of 2010, and has shared her journey with Summer Tomato readers in the past. Today she kindly agreed to share her farmers market as well.

E. Foley is a geek girl extraordinaire. She writes amazing online dating profiles for geeks and non-geeks, helping clients all over the world find love. Her writing can be found at Examiner.com, Dating Sites Reviews, and elsewhere as a ghostwriter. By day, she is the Copywriter at ThinkGeek.

Follow her @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.

Dating profiles for geeks =http://geeksdreamgirl.com

Farmers Market Update: Maryland

by E. Foley

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of Darya’s constant Californicating. Those of us on the best (aka East) coast of the U.S. appreciate our farmers markets on a far deeper level because we only get them from May through November. Such is the case in my home state of Maryland.

(Really, I love Darya and the Californicating actually helps me plan for things coming into season over here.)

Maters

Maters

Summer Veggies

Summer Veggies

I’ve been working with Darya on my healthstyle since the beginning of 2010 and am proud to report I’ve lost about 20 pounds without ever feeling deprived. In fact, I feel like I eat way tastier things now. I’m still having the occasional cookie or bacon cheeseburger, but on the whole, my healthstyle is much improved as a result of having her coaching me.

My boyfriend and I have visited all the farmers markets in a 20 mile radius and we’ve decided to call the Olney Farmers and Artists Market home. Out of all the markets we visited, this one seemed to have the best mix of vendors. These pictures are from my trip on Sunday, June 13th.

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Fresh Corn

Fresh Corn

One of the common things I’ve heard from the farmers is that the unseasonably hot weather lately has pushed the growing season up a bit. Last week, I tried two new-to-me things: garlic scapes and saskatoon berries. With the garlic scapes, I made a delicious (albeit really strong!) pesto. I also threw them into pretty much everything we cooked last week. Saskatoon berries taste like a cross between a blueberry and a sweet apple. They were great in pancakes as well as a spread I made by blending them with local chevre.

This week, neither scapes nor saskatoons were available. Asparagus, another spring favorite of mine, has also disappeared. Since we have absolutely fabulous local goat cheese from Cherry Glen Farm, I was making lots of Asparagus & Goat Cheese Quesadillas. (Feel free to throw garlic scapes in there if you still have them!)

Red Onions

Red Onions

Flowers

Flowers

But summer is moving in quickly! Last week’s strawberries are being pushed out by blueberries, cherries, raspberries, and blackberries. I’m getting over mono, so I can’t drink alcohol quite yet, but I’m sensing a blackberry mojito in my future.

Mojito Time!

Mojito Time!

Blackberries

Blackberries

My one beef with this market is that some of the farmers don’t put up signs to identify what farm they’re from and me being me, I forget to ask. The list below is labeled as best as I could!

Purple Kohlrabi

Purple Kohlrabi

Purchases:

  • Organic Spring Mix (Sligo Creek Farm)
  • Cherries (Falcon Ridge Farm)
  • Eggs (Fox Hollow Farm)
  • Green Bell Peppers (Penn Farm)
  • Cucumbers (Penn Farm)
  • Purple Kohlrabi
  • Shelled Peas
  • Pattypan Squash
  • Beets (with the most BEAUTIFUL GREENS!!)

I have a question for you Summer Tomato fans. What’s your favorite thing to do with kohlrabi?

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Farmers Market Update: Father’s Day

by | Jun 20, 2010
Assorted Sweet Peppers

Assorted Sweet Peppers

I want to start today by saying there is no one on earth I love more than my dad. Walking around the farmers market this weekend I wished more than anything that he could be with me to see and taste all the amazing produce we have right now here in San Francisco. He’s such a sucker for good food made or grown by people and families who truly care about what they’re doing. I know he’d love it here and I can’t wait until he visits next.

This is a particularly special time of year for fruit lovers. Last week the best cherries were the deep red bing and brooks varieties, but this week the yellow-red rainier cherries finally came into their own, rivaling the sweetness of even the best of the red cherries.

Rainier & Bing Cherries

Rainier & Bing Cherries

White Peaches

White Peaches

We are also in the middle of the fleeting dark berry season. Most of the dark berries are hybrids of blackberries and raspberries. Boysenberries are the most well known hybrid, but today I also found fresh logan and olallie berries. Olallies are my dad’s favorite (I bought 3 boxes in his honor).

Peaches & Nectarines

Peaches & Nectarines

Mature Fava Beans

Mature Fava Beans

But of course, fruit is not all that is special about this time of year. The fava beans are peaking and now’s your chance to get in on this springtime delicacy. I’ll be featuring a spectacular recipe for a Persian fava bean stew next week.

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Squash Blossoms

Squash Blossoms

Also in the early summer you can find beautiful squash blossoms. These are a wonderful treat that pair particularly well with eggs or on pizza. They are also delicious stuffed with goat cheese and herbs, and fried in tempura batter. Decadent, but certainly worth it.

Spanish Red Garlic

Spanish Red Garlic

Sweet Red Onions

Sweet Red Onions

Garlic and onions, while generally consistent, are at their best this time of year. It is nearly impossible for Photoshop to do justice to the neon fuchsia color of the sweet red onions in this photo, but in person they seemed to almost glow with radiance in the morning sun.

Lavendar and Sweet Peas

Lavendar and Sweet Peas

Violet Sweet Peppers

Violet Sweet Peppers

Looking ahead, peppers are what I am most excited about in the coming months, but they are already starting to impress me with their smell and color. This is, however, a fantastic time to start buying pimientos de padrón (another of Dad’s favorites), as they will continue to get spicier as the season progresses.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

xoxo

Today’s purchases:

What’s your dad’s favorite fresh produce?

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Farmers Market Update: Perfect Day

by | May 30, 2010
Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge

Saturday was a perfect day in San Francisco. It was warm, clear and beautiful. The farmers market was full of cherries, peaches and strawberries, and I tasted the best apricot ever at Frog Hollow Farm.

Basically it was too nice to stay inside writing about it. Photos will have to suffice today.

Bing Cherries

Bing Cherries

Green Garlic

Green Garlic

Loquats

Loquats

Peppers

Peppers

Potatoes

Potatoes

Red Onions

Red Onions

Saturn Peaches

Saturn Peaches

Shallots

Shallots

White Peaches & Apricots

White Peaches & Apricots

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Farmers Market Update: First Cherries!

by | May 9, 2010

First Cherries

First Cherries

There were cherries today! The first stone fruit of the season finally arrived, and they were surprisingly delicious. I had trouble focusing on much else.

Luckily despite my excitement I still had enough wits about me to grab some heirloom tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. The mission: caprese salad. The verdict: awesome. Yep, the heirloom tomatoes are finally tasty.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas

Basil

Basil

Peas and fava beans are huge at the farmers market right now: sugar snap peas as well as snow peas and English shelling peas.

The asparagus season is peaking right now, so be sure you get your fill in the coming weeks.

Asparagus

Asparagus

I also found a rare delicacy today, green almonds. Though they were more developed and less sweet than I remember them from last year, it was still exciting to see them and I’ll definitely be trying them again this season.

Kumquats

Kumquats

Green Almonds

Green Almonds

And aren’t kumquats pretty?

Do you have cherries yet at your farmers market?

Today’s purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: Fruit Bonanza!

by | Jun 14, 2009
Red-Orange Apricots

Orange-Red Apricots

I was completely out of control at the farmers market this weekend. It’s embarrassing really. I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to NOT buying stone fruit and berries. None.

Consequently I spent way more money than I normally do at the market. But after thinking about this for a few hours I realized I would be crazy to have done otherwise.

Boysenberries

Boysenberries

Pluots

Pluots

There is no other time of year when you can get perfect, meaty, sweet and tangy cherries in 3 or 4 different varietals. Apricots come in all shape, sizes and colors, and a mushy one cannot be found among them. Plums and pluots are like the hand-picked candy of God herself. There are only a few weeks left in blueberry season, but boysenberries and blackberries demand your undivided attention. Strawberries are as sweet as they will ever be.

Strawberries

Strawberries

Rainier Cherries

Rainier Cherries

What else was I supposed to do?

But at $5-8 dollars a pound it put a serious dent in my wallet. The thing is though, these are real treats. I cannot buy them the rest of the year even if I wanted to. The cheaper ones at Safeway are not even worth discussing.

I easily spent $30 on fruit today, which I never do. Luckily the luscious kale I bought was only $1.75 and is 2-3 large servings. The baby savoy cabbages came in at under $2 as well.

The summer squash I bought last week from Lucero farms were ridiculously sweet and delcious, especially the yellow ones. They are even good raw! I bought a bunch more this week, as well as a few of the self-proclaimed “world’s best cucumber.”

Baby Eggplants

Baby Eggplants

Purple Onions & Cucumbers

Purple Onions & Cucumbers

A few eggplants are starting to show up too.

For those of you who are as excited about summer tomatoes as I am, Oliveto restaurant (Oakland) has started Tomato Watch 2009. Tomato Watch is an online video journal documenting the tomato crops of some of the best tomato farms in the Bay Area. Don’t miss the action!

For the first time I bought soy milk from Hodo Soy, the maker of my favorite tofu. I’m lactose intolerant and therefore prefer soy milk in my breakfast cereal and coffee (unsweetened, full-fat soy milk, of course). Traditionally I have bought Silk brand unsweetened soy milk, but I recently learned that since Silk was bought by Dean Foods they have switched from U.S. grown organic beans to conventional soy beans largely imported from China. I think it’s safe to assume everything from China is filled with lead and cyanide (kinda kidding, but kinda not), so I no longer buy Silk. I’ve been experimenting with Wildwood, but I thought I would try something new this week. I’m interested to see what Hodo can do.

There are so many amazing varietals of stone fruits at the market right now I can’t even pretend to keep up with them all.

Do you have any favorites? Please tell me about them in the comments!

Today’s purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: Late Spring

by | Jun 7, 2009
Summer Squash

Summer Squash

I do not want to call it summer just yet, but we’re certainly getting close. I was finally able to return to my beloved Ferry Plaza Farmers Market this weekend in San Francisco. What a delight!

Last time I visited cherries were just starting to get good and a few apricots and tomatoes were peeking out. Now stone fruits have completely taken over the market, tomatoes are abundant and summer squash have exploded in a way I don’t remember from years past. Truly breathtaking.

Larian & Rainier Cherries

Larian & Rainier Cherries

Organic Plums

Organic Plums

Strawberries are particularly sweet right now, while blueberries are the perfect combination of sweet, tart and crunchy. I saw raspberries for the first time today, but did not get a chance to taste them.

Another remarkable sight was the fresh herbs. Scents of basil, thyme, mint, oregano and lavender infuse the air with the unmistakable fragrance of the coming summer. I couldn’t help but buy all I could carry.

Oregano

Oregano

Spearmint

Spearmint

Some notable early spring items have also disappeared. There are no longer aspargus or *sniff* ramps. Citrus is also on it’s last legs.

Finally, today was the first time I have been to the market since plastic bags were banned. I bought a roll of the biodegradable kind from the CUESA information booth. Some vendors gave them out for free, but most did not. All around the experience is a little bit annoying (I accidentally spilled a bag of cherries on the ground because of the chaos in my shopping bag), but mostly manageable. I do wish there were a better solution, but I’m sure I will get used to the inconvenience eventually.

Salad Mix

Salad Mix

Garlic and Squash Blossoms

Garlic and Squash Blossoms

Today’s Purchases:

What did you find at the market today?

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