Farmers Market Update: Berkeley

by | Jan 17, 2010
Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee

I’m thrilled to have Allison Arevalo from Local Lemons representing today from across the bay in Berkeley.

The Berkeley farmers market on Center street downtown is one of my old stomping grounds. Though there is a lot of overlap in products between Berkeley and SF, the vibe is completely different. This synopsis has definitely inspired me to head back sometime soon.

Allison is a Brooklyn girl who escaped New York for the sunny skies and year-round produce of Berkeley, California. Local Lemons is a collection of original, all-natural recipes designed to give you a taste of local, sustainable living in the East Bay.

Farmers Market Update: Berkeley

by Allison Arevalo

Days like this make it easy to forget winter. While most of the world hides beneath down comforters and behind woolen scarves, in Berkeley I saunter slowly around the farmers’ market, sun warm on my back. And while I am grateful to breath summer air in January, I feel most fortunate to enjoy vibrant greens of winter produce – something I was deprived of living in New York.

My day at the Berkeley market began with a hug from Denise (Chez Us) and a steaming cup of Bella Donovan from Blue Bottle coffee. From there we walked the length of the market, taking it in before making all-important decisions. The Berkeley market is often a sea of green, but today the emerald hues were as varied as the vegetables themselves. Kale, chard, romanesco, broccoli, arugula, spinach, leeks and other greens flourish during the temperate, wet Bay Area winters, making it the ideal time of year to indulge in their nutrients.

Celery

Celery

Romanesco

Romanesco

Green garlic recently made its yearly market debut, and oh, how I love the mild bite of green garlic. Cook with it, use it as a garnish, stir it into soups or puree it for dips. A favorite recipe of mine uses sautéed green garlic mixed with smashed cannellini beans, a drizzle of olio nuevo and a pinch of flaky pink salt. I grabbed a few stocks from Riverdog farms, where I also purchased plump, stout carrots, so sweet they taste candied.

Phoenix Bread

Phoenix Bread

Green Garlic

Green Garlic

Our next stop was Phoenix Pastificio. The Phoenix makes a rainbow of fresh pastas–porcini, squid ink, meyor lemon, saffron–homemade sauces, cookies and their famous rustic olive bread. I have yet to leave the market without touting a loaf of the cushy artisanal bread, brimming with tangy kalamatas.

Watermelon Radish

Watermelon Radish

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash

Among mountains of butternut squash, baskets of sweet lettuce, piles of watermelon radishes and stacks of fresh cheese, Berkeley market is a community; a gathering of locals who come to chat up the virtues of purple carrots, or sample green olive and potato tamales wrapped in banana leaves. I am particularly fond of the white-haired, dreaded beatnik, who reminds me what I love about Berkeley as he strums and sings nostalgic tunes from Bob Dylan.

Today’s Purchases:

Sweet Lettuce: Happy Boy Farms

Arugula: Happy Boy Farms

Rustic Olive Bread: Phoenix Pastificio

Green Garlic: Riverdog Farm

Carrots: Riverdog Farms

Romanesco: Riverdog Farms

Fresh Local Prawns: Hudson Seafood

Bella Donavan: Blue Bottle Coffee

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One Response to “Farmers Market Update: Berkeley”

  1. Janet says:

    I have got to get myself to this market. Love it, Allison! I love green garlic – thanks for the reminder that it’s back!

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