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Farmers Market Update: First Asparagus!

by | Feb 21, 2010
First Asparagus

First Asparagus

I guess spring is here for real. Behold: asparagus!

And it didn’t come alone.

Every week I’m seeing more spring produce popping up as if it were, um, springtime.

Cardoons

Cardoons

Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads are baby fern shoots that show up at Far West Fungi for a few weeks or so every spring. Cardoons–a unique and unwieldy vegetable–are also a rare seasonal find. Neither of these make my top 5 vegetables list, but they are fun to play around with if you are feeling adventurous.

I admit I’m a little more excited about the artichokes that are appearing everywhere. The past few years I’ve fallen in love with the baby ones, but I enjoy artichokes of all sizes. And it looks like I’m not the only one.

Artichoke Slug

Artichoke Slug

Cauliflower is peaking in season right now and trust me, you don’t want to miss it. Try roasting cauliflower florets at about 450 degrees with a little olive oil, sea salt, curry powder and coriander. Cover it with foil for the first 15 minutes, then remove the foil and let it brown until tender. Stir every 10 minutes or so. So easy and ridiculously tasty.

You can also find cauliflower’s prettier and more delicate cousin, romanesco.

Romanesco

Romanesco

Cauliflowers

Cauliflowers

Eggs are also easier to find at the farmers market this time of year. Right now I am smitten with the ones at Marin Sun Farms. They aren’t cheap, but they will blow you away. And you won’t get Salmonella.

Blood Oranges

Blood Oranges

Marin Sun Farms Eggs

Marin Sun Farms Eggs

The citrus season is also booming. Blood oranges and navels are wonderful right now, while the cute little clementines are almost gone. Also be sure to grab some Meyer lemons to squeeze on your asparagus and artichokes.

And root vegetables are still awesome.

Beautiful Turnips

Beautiful Turnips

Is it becoming springtime at your market?

Today’s purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: UCSF Mission Bay

by | May 9, 2009
Baby Spring Onions

Baby Spring Onions

If there is one thing I never do it is skip my weekend Farmers Market trip, but today I am skipping it. The weather is beautiful in Northern California and I am spending the weekend hiking, eating and drinking in Tahoe with family. It’s Mother’s Day, it’s springtime and, mostly, I really need a vacation. Don’t worry, when I get back I will be able to pick up enough vegetables at Bi-Rite Market to last me until the UCSF Mission Bay farmers market on Wednesday (10am – 3pm), so my healthstyle will not suffer.

In the meantime I want to share with you some details of the Mission Bay farmers market, which has been an absolutely splendid addition to our quiet campus since it opened on Earth Day. Although the market is rather small, the quality and variety of the vendors makes it always worth a trip.

I love the exotic Asian greens available at Her Farm, where I found these beautiful baby spring onions. Other vendors offer more traditional seasonal produce, like jumbo artichokes and purple cabbages.

Purple Cabbage

Purple Cabbage

Jumbo Artichokes

Jumbo Artichokes

Fruits are also plentiful, and I have found some amazingly sweet strawberries (3 different varieties) and juicy navel oranges (only $1/lb!!). New this week were apricots–still a little tart–which are the first stone fruits to appear at this market (cherries showed up at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market last week). Summer is so close I can almost taste it!

First Pick Apricots

First Pick Apricots

Huge Strawberries

Huge Strawberries

Probably the coolest thing about the new market is all the artisan vendors selling homemade pasta, cured olives, nuts, smoked fish, raw honey, fresh tofu, crusty breads, Mediterranean dishes and vegan cookies. Though some of these sellers only come every other week, their presence really transforms the market from a simple vegetable stand into a true artisan marketplace where you can compose full gourmet meals using high-quality local ingredients.

Raw Honey

Raw Honey

Il Pastaio Pasta

Il Pastaio Pasta

Tell us what you’re eating for Mother’s Day!

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Farmers Market Update

by | Mar 14, 2009
spring vegetables

spring vegetables

Spring is continuing to sprout up all around us here in San Francisco. Today at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market fluffy spring greens mingle with waning citrus crops, in breathless anticipation of the coming stone fruits and berries.
assorted kale
Chard and kale are particularly beautiful these days. Kale comes in so many colorful varieties, just look at this assorted kale braising mix I got at Marin Roots today.

Green garlic is another unique spring time treat, as green onions are to regular onions, green garlic is more mild than your typical bulb and is perfect for spreads and dips. It is also wonderful in eggs or on salad.

I highly recommend the artichokes from Iacopi Farms, green garlicparticularly the baby ones that can be marinated and sauteed. Fennel is another great vegetable to try this time of year.

I haven’t been overly impressed with the fruit lately, though. I am getting tired of citrus, and the apples I tried today were far too sweet for me. Kiwi are fantastic, but I can only eat so many kiwi in a week.

One day soon though, the market will transform into a cherry explosion. I can’t wait!

Today’s Purchases:dried lavender

  • Assorted kale (Marin Roots Farms)
  • Free range eggs (Marin Roots Farms)
  • Baby artichokes (Iacopi Farms)
  • Baby leeks (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Treviso (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Broccoli shoots (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Red Russian kale (Eatwell Farms)
  • Rosemary (Eatwell Farms)
  • Russian fingerling potatoes (Capay Organics)
  • Carrots (Capay Organics)
  • Asparagus (Capay Organics)orange blossoms
  • Gold chard (Capay Organics)
  • Tangelo (Hamada Farms)
  • Clementines (Hamada Farms)
  • Meyer lemons (Hamada Farms)
  • Kiwi (Four Sisters Farm)

Is it spring time in your town yet?

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