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Farmers Market Update: Cheap Eats

by | Jan 3, 2010
Brussels Sprouts Stalk

Brussels Sprouts Stalk

Holiday spending making you wish you didn’t have to buy food the rest of the month?

You’re in luck, the farmers market in January is full of healthy, delicious and very affordable produce. This weekend I spent about half of what I do during a normal week in any other season.

Shanghai Bok Choy

Shanghai Bok Choy $2

Napa Cabbage $1

Napa Cabbage $1

My guess is winter produce is cheaper than spring and summer produce because it is more sturdy. During the summer, stone fruit (peaches, plums, etc.), berries and delicate greens are extremely perishable. They are also sweeter, so probably more labor intensive to grow (I’m just speculating here, farmers please feel free to chime in).

Sweet Potatoes and Acorn Squash

Sweet Potatoes and Acorn Squash

Winter Produce

Winter Produce

Whatever the reason, the food is cheap now at the farmers market. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t tasty. Hearty greens, root vegetables and squash are perfect soul-warming food for this frigid weather.

It’s win-win!

Fennel Bottoms

Fennel Bottoms

The star of the season is brassica, also known as cruciferous vegetables. These are generally what we think of when we say “leafy greens.” Examples of brassica are broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, kale, etc.

Purple Kohlrabi and Kale

Purple Kohlrabi and Kale

Organic Broccoli

Organic Broccoli

It’s pretty common to not like these vegetables, so I won’t hold it against you if you just grimaced a little. But if you have only had them frozen or from the regular grocery store I urge you to try brassica again at your local farmers market.

When brassica are grown with care they are sweet and not bitter, tender and not tough. They are really delicious, probably my favorite. But I hated them as a kid. I urge you to give them another chance if you don’t love them already.

Audrey II

Audrey II

It’s also a great time to get onions, leeks, shallots and garlic. Not surprisingly, these make your brassica taste even better.

Dirty Girl Shallots

Dirty Girl Shallots

Twisted Leeks

Twisted Leeks

But life isn’t all about Brussels sprouts and broccoli this time of year. Citrus fruit is taking the market by storm, bringing a splash of warm color to cool weather.

Citron

Citron

Blood Oranges

Blood Oranges

I grew up in Southern California so I’m a little picky when it comes to citrus, but I had my socks knocked off today by the clementines at Olsen Organic Farm. You can’t go wrong with any of the clementines in San Francisco right now, but these were truly special. The flavor was so rich and concentrated. In my hypnosis I bought a huge bag of them.

Olsen Organic Clementines

Olsen Organic Clementines

Tropical fruits are also popping up at the farmers market. Today alone I spotted mango, kiwi, Malaysian white guava and white cherimoya. Too bad there wasn’t any bikini weather to pair with them.

Malaysian White Guavas

Malaysian White Guavas

Kiwis

Kiwis

And of course this time of year there are always persimmons, apples, pears, and pomegranates, though the seasons are winding down.

I didn’t get a picture, but the chanterelle mushrooms were also particularly spectacular.

Can you still find fresh veggies in your city? What’s your favorite?

Today’s Purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: Santa’s Secret

by | Dec 20, 2009
Santa Claus

Santa Claus

Looks like I’m not the only one doing some last minute Christmas shopping this year.

I spied Santa Claus himself having lunch at the farmers market in San Francisco. You can’t really blame him either, because I doubt they are getting much good winter produce at the North Pole. He looks like he may have even lost some weight!

Hopefully he found some of the awesome citrus fruit available this time of year as well as these red Livermore walnuts from Hamada Farms, since they match his outfit.

Livermore Red Walnuts

Livermore Red Walnuts

Clementines

Clementines

And I wonder if Santa is the one responsible for hanging mistletoe all over the city? San Francisco residents BEWARE!

Mistletoe

Mistletoe

As for my own shopping, I actually didn’t buy much since I’m leaving town in a couple of days. I’m loving the Tuscan kale and other thick winter greens right now. And, as always, the Meyer lemons.

Greens & Fennel

Greens & Fennel

Kale, Radishes & Lemons

Kale, Radishes & Lemons

I also grabbed what will likely be my last bag of Padrones until next summer.

Carrots

Carrots

Pimientos de Padron

Pimientos de Padron

Unfortunately I had to skip this challenge guaranteeing the best cabbage ever, because I already had too much food. If it’s still available in two weeks though, I’m totally on it.

Persimmons

Persimmons

Best Cabbage Ever

Best Cabbage Ever

The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market will be closed next week, December 26, so I’ll be taking the day off.

Spanish Onions

Spanish Onions

I hope you all have a delicious holiday!

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