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Farmers Market Update: Chard Obsessed

by | Apr 4, 2010


I had no idea I loved chard as much as I apparently do. When I got home from the farmers market and browsed through my photos, about half of them were pictures of chard.

Organic Chard

Organic Chard

Ruby Chard

Ruby Chard

Is that weird?

I think the attraction was the rainbow of colors that to me is so representative of springtime. And nothing is more colorful than rainbow chard.

Ok, the beets were pretty beautiful too.

Colorful Beets

Colorful Beets

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

I love being inspired by vegetables.

The biggest news from the market today was the appearance of heirloom tomatoes. Though I wasn’t quite ready to commit to buying them, I’m very excited about the coming weeks as their flavor develops.

Organic Strawberries

Organic Strawberries

First Heirloom Tomatoes

First Heirloom Tomatoes

I did take the plunge and purchase some strawberries this week, however. I’m a huge fan of the berries at Dirty Girl Produce, and they still had a few baskets left when I got there. But these berries at Swanson Berry Farm looked pretty tasty as well.

Avocados, artichokes and celery also caught my attention this week. I stocked up on baby artichokes for good measure.

Organic Celery

Organic Celery

Organic Artichokes

Organic Artichokes

It is also a great time to get salad greens. A few vendors are carrying miner’s lettuce with these cool Alice-In-Wonderland-looking leaves. And I’m always drawn to the adorable savoy cabbages.

Baby Savoy Cabbage

Baby Savoy Cabbage

Miner's Lettuce

Miner's Lettuce

Be sure you get your fill of citrus in the coming weeks, since it will be disappearing before you know it. And don’t forget the green garlic and onions.

Baby Onions

Baby Onions

Today’s purchases:

Were you inspired by vegetables this week?

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Farmers Market Update: Valentine’s Day

by | Feb 14, 2009


Today is Valentine’s Day and the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was an absolute zoo. The Food from the Heart event was offering $2-$6 tapas plates and wine tastings. The only thing I tried was the Scharffen Berger hot chocolate and fresh whipped cream. Mmmmm.

Despite the chaos, the vegetables were beautiful. I can’t get enough of the leafy greens right now. They smell so good when cooked in olive oil and are very inexpensive and healthy. Perfect food really.

I was excited to see cardoons today at Knoll Farms. Cardoons are a member of the artichoke and thistle family. I have only had them once at a fancy restaurant (I don’t remember which one), and my memory of the experience is vague. When buying them I was told they need to be boiled in an acidic liquid (water with salt and lemon) to preserve their color. They need to be cooked for approximately 45 minutes to make them tender and remove all the bitterness.

From the fruit world I purchased a Malaysian white guava. They looked interesting, so I figured I should try one. It was very fragrant and more mild in flavor than a traditional guava. Really delicious.

I tried a new egg vendor this week too. I didn’t realize I could get eggs from Happy Quail Farms, apparently it is a well kept secret. They were so colorful–like Easter eggs–I just had to buy them.

Today’s Purchases:

  • Cardoons (Knoll Farms)
  • Baby savoy cabbages (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Shallots (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Baby leeks (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Baby artichokes (Iacopi Farms)
  • Mixed eggs (Happy Quail Farms)
  • Bok choy with sprouts (Chue’s Farm)
  • Chinese broccoli (Chue’s Farm)
  • Collard greens (Capay Organics)
  • Clementines (Hamada Farms)
  • Cocktail grapefruit (Hamada Farms)
  • Meyer lemon (Hamada Farms)
  • Navel oranges (Hamada Farms)
  • Sweet limes (Bernard Ranches)
  • White Malaysian guava (Brokaw Nursery)

Happy Valentine’s Day!! What did you eat today?

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Farmers Market Update: Clouds

by | Jan 24, 2009

You know what’s great about gloomy weather? I get the farmers market all to myself! No crowds to shove through, no one grabbing lemons out of my pics before I can snap them.

Cold weather days when the tourists decide to stay indoors are the best days to take pictures and make friends at the market.

Oddly enough I ran into Alice Waters today at the Ferry Building–you know, Pol Pot herself. I didn’t take her picture or interrupt her activities; she seemed the be enjoying the anonymity as much as I was so I left her to herself. She was hanging out at Boulettes Larder, probably planning something amazing as always.

Today was also a “field trip” day at the market. I brought along my friends Adam and Emily to show them around, one of whom had never been to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market before. Though it is common for your first market trip to be a life changing experience, not having the huge crowds made our explorations that much more rewarding.

Another thing that made today particularly special is that for the first time in a while, Dirty Girl Produce had a big basket of baby savoy cabbages on display, the very same cabbages that inspired the birth of this blog. How quaint my blog was back then, just like these cute little cabbages. Awwwww.

I bought something called a Bears lime today at Happy Quail Farms. They couldn’t tell me much about what makes these limes special besides them having no seeds. My faithful internet wasn’t much help either. I’m beginning to think maybe this is a hybrid plant created at UC Berkeley….

(Oh wait, I think it is just a Persian lime with a misspelled name. These are probably Bearss limes, even though they are yellow. That just means they are riper.)

I purchased the rest of my citrus at Hamada Farms, because all the stuff I bought last week was out of this world.

Finally, I am really excited to report that Tierra Vegetables has an outstanding assortment of dried chilies and today I found a mixture to make harissa (I found a molé mix too). Harissa is one of my favorite things about Moroccan food, but it is not particularly easy to make from scratch nor is it readily available in grocery stores. I have been craving a Moroccan tagine from my favorite soup book, but have not made it because I was missing harissa. Now I have it!

As you can tell, it was an exciting day for me. I hope your day is just as full of discoveries!


  • Baby savoy cabbages (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Dino kale (Iacopi Farms)
  • Romanesco (Eatwell Farms)
  • Daikon (Chue’s Farm)
  • Kiwi (Four Sisters Farm)
  • Melo gold (Hamada Farms)
  • Chandler pomelo (Hamada Farms)
  • Blood oranges (Hamada Farms)
  • Navel oranges (Hamada Farms)
  • Satsuma mandarins (Hamada Farms)
  • Clementines (Hamada Farms)
  • Bearss lime (Happy Quail Farms)
  • Harissa spice mix (Tierra Vegetables)
  • Soul Food eggs (Prather Ranch)
  • Pain Epi loaf (Acme Bread Co.)

Anything good at your market today?

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Braised baby savoy cabbage

by | Jul 29, 2008

As my trip to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday was winding down, my attempt to avoid making any more purchases was thwarted when a glistening pile of baby savoy cabbages caught my eye. You should have seen these things, they were absolutely adorable. Most were no bigger than a lemon, and they have such bright green, crinkly leaves they look as though they could blossom into one of those Cabbage Patch dolls I had as a child. I bought five or six of the small heads and have been thinking about what to do with them ever since.

Tonight I decided I would try braising them. I’ve never braised anything, and part of me wonders if I really know what braising is. Luckily for us all, Wikipedia knows everything.

Normally cabbage is shredded into strips before braising, but I wanted to try and maintain the beautiful appearance of this vegetable so I opted to cut them in half instead. In a hot pan with shimmering olive oil I threw in one diced leek, added the cabbage halves face down and salted liberally with fresh ground sea salt.

I seared the faces of the cabbage for a few minutes until they were slightly browned. I then added mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine), about 3/4 cup of water and a sprinkle of shichimi (a Japanese 7-spice chili mixture I found this weekend at Rainbow Grocery). I read about these two exotic ingredients when I was learning about how to make udon in my favorite soup book, so I was excited that I found them and curious how they would taste. The mirin is very thick and sweet, great for cooking; the shichimi is savory, has a slight sesame taste and not too spicy.

I also wanted to add the crimini mushrooms I bought this weekend at Rainbow, but they were already moldy. So sad, last time I make that mistake. But I still needed something with a creamy texture to counteract the soft, sweet cabbage. I decided to add a few of the garbanzo beans I made the night before in the pressure cooker (I made Indian food yesterday, curried okra and chickpeas). Eureka!

I simmered the veggies 20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. I had to add more liquid after about 10 minutes. In the mean time I boiled some soba noodles, sticking with the Japanese theme. Soba noodles are made of buckwheat, so they are much healthier than most other kinds of noodles. Of course I only made a tiny amount to give the dish substance.

I stirred my creations together for a delicious, healthy dinner!

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