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Farmers Market Update: Midsummer in San Francisco

by | Aug 5, 2012
Red Zebra Tomatoes

Red Zebra Tomatoes

I checked the weather report this morning and apparently most of the US is experiencing 100+° weather. You may be suffering, but I’m jealous of all of you. It was 57° here in SF this morning, and I wore a wool sweater and windbreaker to the farmers market, but once I got there I really wished I’d had my scarf and hat. Burrrrrrr!

The grass is always greener, right?

Thumbalina Carrots

Thumbalina Carrots

I love sun and heat, but the one advantage I had this morning was that pictures turn out much better on overcast days. Since no one told the sunny farms around the Bay Area that it isn’t actually summer here, we had all the bright, beautiful produce a warm summer would promise. We just have to eat it in the cold.

Golden Beets

Golden Beets

It has actually been weeks since I’d last been to the market, due to the extensive travel schedule I’ve had this summer. And despite my shivers it was sooooooo nice to be back.

Gypsy Peppers

Gypsy Peppers

Gosh vegetables are beautiful this time of year. Have you ever tried purple beans?

Purple and Green Beans

Purple and Green Beans

Needless to say I bought everything I could carry in two Mercado bags, doing my best to take advantage of the produce peaking this time of year. Stone fruits like peaches, nectarines and plutos (plums) are working their magic right now.

Pluots

Pluots

Summer squash is something I look forward to all year. I was particularly excited today to find bitter melon, a vegetable I ate a lot of in Okinawa earlier this year.

Squash and Bittermelon

Squash and Bittermelon

Honestly I may have purchased more than we can eat, but we’ll do our best.

Today’s purchases (~$40):

What did you find at the market this week?

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Farmers Market Update: Burgundy, France

by | Jun 24, 2012

Wild Asparagus

Elyse Kopecky is an Oregonian living, working and playing outdoors in Geneva, Switzerland. She’s a passionate foodie lifestyle blogger who enjoys inspiring friends to live fresh. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at www.freshabits.com and @freshabits.

Farmer Market Update: Beaune, France

by Elyse Kopecky

Beaune is a historic ville surrounded by vineyards and small organic farms spread across rolling hills. It’s known as the wine and gastronomic capital of the Burgundy region, and for good reason. The tiny town comes alive on Saturdays with an impressive local food market featuring specialties from the Burgundy region.

Beaune Market Square

I have a passion for farmers markets (borderline obsession) and often drag my husband to obscure places just to check out the local market. I first fell in love with Beaune in March when my husband and I planned a fun Burgundy-wine-and-cooking weekend excursion to celebrate our 7th anniversary.

Buying Vegetables

My husband and I returned for a second visit this June. Our trip was well timed. The bountiful spring harvest had begun, and the stands in the market were packed with an array of colorful fruits and vegetables. I loved all the variations of fresh berries, including wild sweet strawberries, tart currants, blackberries, and cherries.

Wild Berries

Wild Berries

The Beaune farmers market takes over a historic square in the heart of the walled old town and overflows into the surrounding cobbled side streets. Within the square there is a well-worn covered food market where you’ll find the butchers, artisan cheese makers, and fishmongers setting up shop.

Market Crowd

Don’t be alarmed that the meat actually resembles the animal, meaning the chickens, ducks, and pigs still have their endearing heads attached. That’s how the French spot quality and freshness.

Outside, the square is packed with rows of tables where the farmers sell everything from seasonal produce to olives, dried herbs, cured meats, farm-fresh eggs, crusty baguettes, creamy honey, hand-pressed oils, freshly picked flowers, and of course Burgundy wine (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the specialties of the region).

Cured Meats

One of my favorite stops was the stand of a young organic farmer from the Ferme duJointout, where they grow a rotation of seasonal vegetables and raise grass-fed goats and sheep. By the time my husband and I got to the Jointout stand, all that remained were a small selection of cheeses and a few bouquets of herbs, spring greens, and lettuces. With dirt from his farm caked beneath his fingernails, the young farmer looked as if he had arrived at the market straight from the field. A sure sign of farm-to-table!

Organic Farmer

I bought one of his last heads of deep purple romaine lettuce and my favorite chevre frais (goat cheese). The chevre frais was the first item we polished off when we arrived back at our home in Geneva. The Jointout artisan cheeses are so fresh and creamy that they alone are worth driving to Beaune to discover.

The French are serious about their food. They will happily talk about their produce, where it comes from, how it was grown, and how best to prepare (cook in butter, top with cream of course!).

Chanterelles Mushrooms

Chanterelles Mushrooms

Burgundy is proudly a leading region for organic food (called agriculture biologique) and most of the surrounding farms open their doors to visitors (you can buy half a lamb directly from the farm). Although, you do have to be careful that you’re buying from the “producers” and not the “traders,” just as you have to be in any market in Europe, but the traders are fairly easy to spot because their stands are usually full of bananas and pineapples, items clearly not native to France.

Organic Radishes

I made my way up and down every aisle and easily filled my basket to its brim. Luckily I had my husband tagging along to carry the load.

The Bounty

Here’s what we purchased:

  •  wild strawberries
  • cherries
  • blackberries
  • charentais melon (French variety)
  • baby potatoes
  • green dried lentils
  • wild asparagus
  • romaine lettuce
  • rhubarb stalks
  • coeur de boeuf tomatoes
  • sunflower honey
  • chevre frais
  • whole grain baguette
  • Burgundy Pinot Noir

Thankfully, Beaune is an easy two-hour drive from Geneva. My husband and I are already planning a return visit during the fall harvest. You can read more here to explore the impressive organic farmers and winegrowers in the Burgundy region.

Bon app!

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Farmers Market Update: Patras, Greece

by | Jun 3, 2012

Organic Farmers Market in Patras, Greece

After working as a post doctoral fellow for 5 years at Washington University in St. Louis, Matthew Denos of Zorqe.com, a biologist, feels privileged to live in Greece. Being a foodie with a desire to help people lose weight safely, he offers a  Nutrisystem promotion, a clinically studied weight loss program.

Farmers Market Update: Patras Organic Market, Greece

by Matthew Denos

Bottles of Wine

It was a sunny and busy day in Patras, Greece and I headed out to the farmers market. I didn’t want to miss it because it runs only once a week.

What differentiates this Farmers Market from other conventional markets in the area?  This is a 100% organic farmers market. All the food in this market is organic. That means that the food grows without pesticides, herbicides or any fertilizers. In addition, the ground where the plants are cultivated has been left to clear of these chemicals before the seeds are sown.

Farmers from all over West and South Greece gather here every Tuesday to sell their organic produce. All kinds of colorful vegetables, juicy fruits, cooking herbs, wine, honey, and even organic soap and aromatic and antiseptic extracts are sold here. I love it because it is the best place in the area to buy Certified Organic Produce at affordable prices.

Being located in the sunny Mediterranean basin, Greece is the heaven of farm products. It is the country where the Mediterranean diet developed, a way of eating that has now become a part of the country’s history, tradition, and culture.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are at their prime in spring and therefore I was expecting an abundance of oranges and lemons, as well as the first of the year’s harvest of strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, garlic and onion stems, but also all kinds of leafy vegetables that Greeks call horta (wild radish, dandelion, mustard, etc). I desperately wanted to stock up on some of my favorite late spring produce.

Eggplants and Peppers

When I arrived at the market place in late afternoon, growers and producers were standing behind their stands brimming with seasonal food. Their contagious enthusiasm and pride in their products drew many customers. All seemed to enjoy themselves. There were about 30 stalls under red and white awnings arrayed in two lines facing each other.

I started off at the potatoes stall. If I were allowed to  put only one organic vegetable on my table, that would be potatoes for 3 reasons: First, I am potato guy. I eat potatoes almost every day. Second, organic potatoes taste so much better than conventional ones. Third, potatoes have one of the highest levels of pesticide residues among conventional produce. So, here I am, loading my basket with 5 kilos (12 lbs) of great organic potatoes.

Stocking up on Potatoes

Stocking Up on Potatoes

Do you see the oranges and lemons on the other end of the stall? These are two of the most abundant fruits in Greece. Citrus groves are almost everywhere especially in Peloponnese, the Southwest part of Greece. The annual citrus production is close to 1 million tons, the majority of which is oranges, mandarins and lemons. One third of it is exported to Western Europe and the Balkan countries.

Oranges

If you ever visit Greece in Spring, when citrus trees boom, as soon as you get out of the airport you will smell the characteristic intoxicating citrus scent that fills the air this time of the year. Oranges sell for 60 cents a kilo (euro), the equivalent of 34 cents/pound (USD). I put 15 kilos (36 pounds) in my bag. I eat 2-3 a oranges a day.

Lemons

The label says: “Fresh and Juicy,” and heck are they!

“I’m telling you, no taste!”

You see this vendor talking to my brother? When I took this photo, the vendor was  telling my brother his story. Back in the 70s, he visited Los Angeles, CA. He was going to get married with a very rich Californian woman. The woman was so wealthy that  she bought him an expensive Corvette as soon as the he landed in LA. He finally did not marry the girl and decided to come back to Greece. But what still lives vividly in his memory is that some of the fruits he ate in California were not as tasty as the ones in Greece. You see his gesture? “I am telling you, they had no taste” says emphatically shaping a “zero” with his two fingers. I am sure Darya will refute that, as will my brother who has lived in LA. Kinda funny, isn’t it?

Down the lane a bit, a beautiful display of tomatoes! My favorite vegetable. Or should I say fruit?

Tomatoes

I filled my bag with 2 kilos (4.4 lbs). When I later ate a few at home, I could clearly see how much better they taste comparing to conventional tomatoes.

Zucchini

Brocolli stems, beets, green beans, and squash (zucchini) were abundant in many stalls. The zucchini fruit is very popular in Greek recipes where we usually boil them (some prefer to fry them) and eat them with olive oil and garlic. Delicious appetizer! I purchased some, boiled them next day, dressed them with virgin olive oil, lemon juice and pepper, and ate them with olives. They had a slightly sweet taste that went great with my turkey fillet.

Ready to make your own healthy Greek salad? This vendor sells horta. On his stall you can find lettuce, chicory leaves, spinach, rocket, garlic and onion stems, dill, parsley, and green Amaranth which is known as vlita in Greece. I used to grow vlita in my backyard.

Horta

Swinging around to the other side of the market, I stopped to sample these gorgeous looking olives. Could olives not be present in a Greek farmers market? Of course not! Anywhere you look in Greece you see olive trees. Olives are a real treat and one of the local favorites in Patras. There are at least 6 local olive varieties that differ in size, taste, and color.

Olive Bar

The olive “bar” at the farmers market is the right place to figure out exactly what your favorite type of olive is and purchase it.

Olives in Jars

The woman at the olives stand also sold smashed olives in little glass jars. Smashed olives spread on small barley rusks makes a delicious appetizer. I purchased two jars and they were delicious. The jar also contained red pepper, oregano and other herbs, which all added to the healthy taste and flavor to the smashed olives.

Smashed Olives

As I was taking a few pictures of the olives in the jars, the lady behind the stall asked me why I was taking pictures of her produce. I explained to her that I was going to write an article about the local organic Farmers Market and post it online. When she asked me what site I would publish it in, I took a piece of paper and wrote “SummerTomato.com”.

Link Sharing

She marveled at the fact that people in San Francisco would see her beautiful display of various types of organic olives.

SummerTomato.com

Strawberries are at the market each week. Their aroma is out of this world and they taste sooo sweet! Unfortunately, they sell out within 10 minutes of the market’s opening. Who can resist the aroma of 360 different esters, alcohols, terpenes, and aldhehydes that comprise the strawberry flavor! I was not there soon enough to take pictures. Next time.

Grape leaves are necessary for making dolmades, a Greek delicacy made of rolled vine leaves stuffed with rice, meat and seasonings. Look how tender, green, bright and clean they are, and totally organic. My brother bought 30 leaves. His wife used them to make the best “dolmades” I have ever eaten. The label says: ΑΜΠΕΛΟΦΥΛΛΑ, which translates to “grape leaves”.

Grape Leaves

Honey, royal jelly, and propolis—powerful natural antibiotics, medicinal marvels with many health benefits. The label says: “Royal Jelly, the battery with the longest life”. On the back shelf sits natural soap made of honey and propolis.

Honey, Royal Jelly, Propolis Soap

I talked with the vendor, Mr Nikos Smyrnis, a member of the Smyrni organic farmers family, who explained to me how they prepare their organic products in the family’s 37 acres in Arcadia, situated in the mountainous south Greece. They cultivate olive trees, vines, herbs, aromatic plants, and cereals.

Beeswax Candles and Honey

The little vial that the man is handing over to me contains an antiseptic solution of propolis. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used propolis as a pharmaceutical agent for its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and pain-killing properties.

Antiseptic Propolis Solution

Antiseptic Propolis Solution

I ended my little tour in Patras’ Organic Farmers Market by visiting the wine stall. Sant’or is the name of the company that makes this absolutely fantastic organic wine.

Wine Sant’or

They have their own vineyards in Santameri, a beautiful village in west Greece, which I have visited a few times. They cultivate a local grape variety called Santameriana. I bought a 5-liter white Santameriana wine. It is served cold with multigrain bread, seafood, and white cheese. Yum!

Sant’or Wine

Here is another vendor selling their own organic wine. The label says: Wine made of organic grapes, 2 euros (USD2.6) per bottle.

Wine

The Organic Farmers Market in Patras runs every Tuesday from 2:00 pm to 6:00pm in the winter season (up to April 30th) and 4pm-8pm during the summer season (up to October 1st). Greek organic producers love their agriculture. If you ask them about their products they have a story to tell you for each one of them.

Smell the freshness!

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Farmers Market Update: Poway (San Diego)

by | May 27, 2012

Maui Onions

Kristine Valenzuela is a corporate woman by day but spends most of her free time trying to adjust to having three daughters while attempting to enjoy all the goodness life has to offer. Food, wine, spending time with friends and maintaining her blog, Is Everybody Listening?, are just a few things that help keep her balanced. For a glimpse into her life, follow her on Twitter @specialksd.

Farmers Market Update: Poway

by Kristine Valenzuela

Greetings from Poway, California, also known as “The City in the Country”. Anyone who doesn’t live here would probably consider Poway a suburb of San Diego but our proof of being a stand-alone city is we have our own farmers market.

Cioggia Beets

Ok, that’s not really proof but it makes for a great intro.

It really is a piece of country living here. While Poway has all the modern conveniences, there are glimpses of a lost era as seen in the turn-of-the-century charm of Old Poway Park. Next to this park is where you’ll find Poway’s farmers market, held every Saturday morning and twice a week each summer.

 

Poway, CA

It’s relatively new as far as outdoor markets are concerned. Translation: it’s very small but growing rapidly. Another downside is that not too many of the vendors post the name of their farm so it’s hard to give credit for the beautiful produce. In general, it’s one of my favorites and not just because I can walk to it.

 

Poway Market

I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to farmers markets which means I don’t need a lot of the extras found in other spots throughout the county like prepared foods, jewelry makers, ceramics and imported linens. Our market has just the basics and I love it for that reason.

You won’t find too much in the way of exotic fruits and vegetables either although you’ll see a few once in a while. Let’s get real. That stuff is great to look at and experiment with from time to time but on a daily or weekly basis, the basics end up on our plates most of the time. As a working mom to three girls with different tastes, it’s victory enough to get them to eat broccoli.

 

Ginormous Lemon

A huge thrill about living in the San Diego area is our weather affords us fruit throughout the year and there’s no shortage of it in Poway right now as we approach summer. From giant lemons (as held by my 5 year old) to amazing Valencia oranges, we’re fortunate in the citrus category. I’m happy to say, my kids really only know orange juice as being hand-expressed from oranges (thanks to Summer Tomato for the education on store-bought OJ).

The strawberries have just hit their peak. They’re so sweet, you would swear they were dipped in sugar! I was happy to see blueberries, cherries and loquats this week as well.

Strawberries

The veggies are what I buy the most of so that I have everything I need to make dinner. I love buying Maui onions with the stalks because I can use both the onion and the stalk.

Greens are a huge deal now that I’ve figured out different ways to incorporate them into meals. I wish I was as accomplished with beans because they sure are pretty.

Spring Beans

If root vegetables are your thing, it seems to be a good time for white and red turnips, kohlrabi, radishes, carrots and different potato varieties.

 

Tokyo Turnips

My favorite sighting of the week was seeing bunches of chamomile flowers. It made me want tea on the spot.

Artisan Bread

Aside from our many fruit and vegetable farmers we also have fresh eggs, free-range poultry, wild seafood, artisan bread, organic cheese, olive oils and lots of pretty flowers.

Pin Cushion Flowers

The day I visited the farmers market also happened to be the same day the Boardwalk Craft Market was happening at the adjacent Old Poway Park. If you’re really into crafty stuff, this was the best day to get food as well as a variety of handmade items. Plus, there’s a really cool vintage steam train that provides rides in the park.

 

Boardwalk Craft Market

There’s nothing to hate about a place that offers something to keep the adults and kids happy. Until next time – adios from So Cal!

Steam Train

 

My purchases for the day:

  • Strawberries
  • Chioggia beets
  • Valencia oranges
  • Kale
  • Potatoes
  • European style butter
  • Ceviche

 

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Farmers Market Update: London

by | May 6, 2012

Open Sundays 10-2p at Moxon car park

My name is Helen Manis, and I’m a lawyer who lives in London. I love to bike around and listen to music at the same time, lethal though it is. I also love yoga, jogging and cooking. I am not particularly good at any of these things.

Farmers Market Update: Marylebone, London

by Helen Manis (photos by Michael Blyth)

Last Sunday I visited one of London’s larger farmers markets in Marylebone. Marylebone is actually called Marylebone village. Non-Londoners: if a place in central London is called a village, this means that it is expensive. The pretty high street is famous for coffee houses, restaurants and high-end interior shops. As well as the boutiques Marylebone also holds its weekly farmers market in a car park on a Sunday. I have always loved the relaxed feel of Marylebone and can happily spend a couple of hours with a coffee wandering around the stalls picking up the weekly groceries.

Marylebone Farmers Market

It’s worth getting to the market early. Unlike the more famous (and more expensive) Borough Market, the locals still outnumber the tourists, but the market can and does get busy and many items sell out by closing time. Its not surprising to see why—Marylebone has a huge range of artisan breads, fresh vegetables, dairy, organic meat and hot food. The stall owners are knowledgeable and friendly and many of the prices are not too bad all things considered. All of the food is sourced locally and the stalls are independently run.

One of the things that I love about Marylebone is the unusual food that you can pick up.  If you go, try and head to the Alham Wood Organics, which sells buffalo milk and cheeses. Almham is a really friendly family run organic farm who sell at a lot of the London farmers markets. The milk is amazingly creamy and tastes really clean. Their buffalo mozzarella is used at one of my favourite London restaurants – Franco Manca pizzeria in Brixton market.

Cheese

 

Less unusual but equally tasty are tomatoes. Call me unoriginal but tomatoes are my absolute favourite and I eat them pretty much every day in salads, roasted or as a base for sauces. I usually go to the Isle of Wight tomatoes stall. You can buy fresh tomatoes or their additive and preservative free products, which have won awards galore (for good reason).

Tomatoes

My best friend Stuart and I are having a bit of a love affair with fresh beetroot in salads at the moment so I pick up some for dinner together with heaps of fresh salad leaves from Dr Adrian Izzard’s stall.

Beetroot

 

The breads and home-made cakes are completely out of this world. I try and make my own bread (once it comes out of the oven I usually finish the entire loaf in about 20 mins) but some of the speciality loaves at the old Post Office Bakery are too tempting and I buy a date and walnut loaf. Obviously I pick at it on the way home.

Bread

Spring has truly sprung when the tulips are out. Tulips are one of the best flowers—they are cheap and simple but so pretty. I put them in a little Le Creuset milk jug.

Tulips

As always I could wander around for longer but life gets in the way. If you do find yourself in central London on a Sunday morning you could do worse than spend a couple of hours at Marylebone Farmers market.

What did you find at the market this week?

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Farmers Market Update: Almost Summer

by | Apr 22, 2012
Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

It is absolutely glorious in San Francisco this weekend, one of those rare 80 degree days that we see maybe 4-5 times a year (and yes, I write about it every single time).

Spring Carrots

Spring Carrots

I was so happy to be back at the farmers market, having missed the past 3 weekends. As I had hoped all the spring goodies are appearing, like asparagus, peas, green onions and strawberries. Yes, I bought strawberries! And tomatoes!

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Around this time of year I start craving daily salads. I think it is because the produce is so sweet and crisp, cooking anything too much almost feels like a crime against nature.

Large Lettuces

Large Lettuces

All greens are thriving now, including lettuces, spinach, kale, chard and assorted herbs. Top these with carrots, sweet peas, beets, artichokes, fennel, green onion and fresh spring eggs or chicken and you can’t go wrong.

Shelling Peas

Shelling Peas

It’s also a great time for broccoli and cauliflower, which were beyond gigantic today from Eatwell Farm.

Monster Cauliflower

Monster Cauliflower

Seriously we’ll be making a ton of roasted curry cauliflower with this bad boy.

9lbs Cauliflower

Oh, and did I mention I finally got my hands on Mercado?! They just started shipping, so if you pre-ordered one you should get it very soon. Place new orders here.

Mercado Test Drive

Mercado Test Drive

I got home all of my food no problem, even the heirloom tomato and delicate strawberries. Successful test!

Tangerine, Tangerine

Tangerine, Tangerine

There are still a few last remnants of winter, like these amazing tangerines we found. They are much sweeter and less sour than they were even just a few weeks ago. Get them while you can, because they’ll be gone before you know it.

Today’s purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: Early Spring

by | Feb 19, 2012
Daikon Radish

Daikon Radish

Normally in San Francisco we lament our lack of summer. Despite being in California, this city is notorious for being buried under a 300 ft blanket of fog from June til August. But this year, winter is oddly lacking.

We’ve had some rainy days here and there, but they haven’t lasted long and have been interrupted with unapologetic bursts of sunshine. As you can imagine, this is affecting our crops.

Broccoli

Broccoli

Even though we’re only half way through February, winter produce has dwindled dramatically, and we’re already seeing spring vegetables like fava beans and green onions.

Spring Onions

Spring Onions

I don’t know if this makes me happy or sad, but it is definitely odd. I mean, isn’t there something wrong with this picture?

February Tomatoes

February Tomatoes

But the nice part is walking through the market is a pleasure. The sun is out, but I haven’t seen the thick crowds we get in the summertime on those rare nice days.

Romanesco

Romanesco

Today I focused largely on green vegetables, but also brought home some seasonal goodies like mandarins and walnut oil.

Roasted Walnut Oil

Roasted Walnut Oil

I’m not sure what to make of the weather, but at least I’ll be eating well.

Today’s purchases (~$40):

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Farmers Market Update: January in San Francisco

by | Jan 29, 2012
Romanesco

Romanesco

January in San Francisco is apparently a zillion times nicer than summer. Sure we had some rain last week, but it was so warm, clear and beautiful today I actually went to the market in a summer dress. After last year’s summer of fog, this is was glorious.

Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge

I don’t know if this is global warming or what. It’s certainly strange to see tulips, usually a hallmark of spring that appears in early April or late March, on the last weekend in January. Hard to complain though.

Tulips in January

Tulips in January

Despite the sun, most of the produce is still fairly wintery. One of the reasons I love this time of year is that brassica vegetables (the leafy greens) are so delicious now that eating lots of them is an absolute joy.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

I can’t get enough kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. This weekend we got a bunch of cabbage, daikon and carrots to make a big batch of healthy, probiotics-filled sauerkraut.

Leeks, Cabbage and Daikon

Leeks, Cabbage and Daikon

And speaking of carrots, they and other root vegetables like turnips and radishes are as sweet as can be. My puppy Toaster has learned to prefer these amazing farmers market carrots (yes my dog loves vegetables, go figure) and will actually turn his nose up at the ones I get at Whole Foods. Such a snob!

Colorful Carrots

Colorful Carrots

It’s also a great time for fennel.

Fennel

Fennel

For those of you still obsessed with my winter squash recipe, unfortunately they’re getting harder to find. That is, unless you prefer delicata the size of a watermelon.

Organic Winter Squash

Organic Winter Squash

All in all it was a lovely day. Happy winter!

Yellow Oyster Mushrooms

Yellow Oyster Mushrooms

Today’s purchases (~$20):

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Farmers Market Update: New Years

by | Jan 15, 2012
Pink Radishes

Pink Radishes

FINALLY! I’m back at the farmers market. It’s been so long. After going to Maui, New York, Paris, Las Vegas, LA and Disneyland, I couldn’t be happier to be back in SF with my beloved local produce.

I feel like I missed the fall altogether, but the winter seems to be going along splendidly without me.

Asian Pears

Asian Pears

This time of year, apples and pears are winding down and citrus fruits will be the center of attention for awhile.

Satsumas

Satsumas

I got myself a stack of blood and navel oranges, and of course some Meyer lemons.

Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons

But I’m just as excited about the rest of the winter produce. Something amazing happens to vegetables this time of year. Though I can usually find tasty kale and cabbage year round, in the winter they become sweeter and their flavor becomes irresistible. Same is true for broccoli and cauliflower.

Winter Produce

Winter Produce

Romaine Lettuces

Romaine Lettuces

Root vegetables also make a turn for the sweeter side. Though you are probably already familiar with carrots and beets, this time of year you should branch out and try turnips, rutabagas, and radishes.

Assorted Turnips

Assorted Turnips

Just like the leafy greens mentioned above, root vegetables that can get very spicy and hard to eat during the warmers month, but become sweet and crisp when the weather cools.

Purple Turnips

Purple Turnips

I love to slice up a small radish or turnip and add them to my kale to add an extra dimension of flavor and texture. But many of the root vegetables can also be eaten raw. Daikon, a large Japanese radish, is one of my favorites.

Daikon

Daikon

And though I prefer purple kohlrabi slightly cooked, I had to show off how huge these guys were. They’re normally the size of a baseball or smaller. Not today!

Monstrous Kohlrabi

Monstrous Kohlrabi

I picked up a few other odds and ends today as well, including some fresh bay leaves to use in the slow cooker this weekend.

Culinary Bay

Culinary Bay

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back at the market and back in the kitchen again.

Today’s purchases:

Want to share your farmers market with Summer Tomato readers? Read this to learn more.

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Farmers Market Update: Las Vegas

by | Dec 4, 2011
Organic Pink Lady Apples

Organic Pink Lady Apples

I love featuring markets that are unexpectedly vibrant. As a desert, people don’t generally assume Las Vegas will offer much in terms of fresh, artisan food, but Kari Rose shows us otherwise.

Kari is the owner of Hip Chix a women’s & children’s clothing wholesaler that supplies to boutiques, salons and online websites. She also runs Little Hip Chix, a place where children learn about fashion and the basics of sewing.

Farmers Market Update: Las Vegas

by Kari Rose

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Who says Vegas has no culture? I am a native of Las Vegas and boy, has Vegas changed. Every time I tell someone I live in Vegas, they say, “Where?  On the strip?”

Vegas is more than hotels, showgirls and gambling. We have several communities with great shopping, restaurants, parks, theatre and farmers markets.

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Vegas farmers markets started here in 1999 in local community parks. Now, we’ve got a number of markets including one of my favorites, Fresh52 & Artesian Market (fresh52.com). This market is in two locations weekly: Summerlin and Henderson. The Summerlin location (Tivoli Village at Queensridge) is closest to my home and has become my Saturday ritual.

This market has 30-40 vendors and anywhere from 500-1500 shoppers weekly. One of the things I love about this location is how the market is nestled in a European Shopping village. In the summer, with the Vegas triple-digit temperatures, it is nice that there is an indoor walk-in area too.

This market features locally and California grown seasonal produce, baked goods, gourmet oils, salsa, spices, teas, nuts and handmade crafts.

Last weekend the Fresh52 & Artesian Market was quite festive.  I was greeted by Christmas carolers, Santa and Nutcracker characters promoting their upcoming performances at the Paris Hotel here.

Carolers

Carolers

My first stop, Pink Lady apples from Bentzler Family Farms-Fresno, CA-Organic. So crisp and juicy. Next stop was D&D (Dan & Debbie Garrison) for some vegetables. This couple gathers fruits and vegetables from many farms in Fresno, CA (Yang Farms, Thao Produce & Bentzler Family Farms) throughout the week and brings them to Las Vegas.

One of my interesting finds was the exotic fruit, Budda Hand from Murray Family Farms in Bakersfield, CA. The Budda Hands were interesting looking and so fragrant you could smell them from several feet away.

Buddha's Hands

Buddha's Hands

The indoor, walk-in portion of the market had lots to offer….

Fresh Produce

Fresh Produce

I was happy when I saw three heads of cauliflower waiting for me for my favorite weekly dish from Darya, Curried Roasted Cauliflower. I never liked cauliflower until I tried her recipe and now my daughter & I are hooked!

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

There are a handful of locals producing homemade salsa, jam, honey, pasta, olive oil & balsamic vinegar. One of my favorite vendors is True Foods (truefoodslv.com). I stop by the booth each week to see Scott and pick up three containers of his salsa. He makes 5 styles: House, Scott’s Pico, Taco Shop Green, Death Salsa and Guacamolito. My favorite is the House (cilantro free) but his most popular is Guacamolito. When I spoke with him today I loved his salsa even more.

True Foods Salsa

True Foods Salsa

He told me he met his wife at age 12—they were high school sweethearts, got married and both became middle school science teachers (with Master degrees). When they had a child, they decided to take turns taking a sabbatical from work so they could start their business and stay home to raise their child.

Right now Scott is taking his turn staying home, making salsa, and caring for their child. On the weekends, he and his wife sell their salsa at the farmers market. They also distribute to Whole Foods.

Salsas

Salsas

Dried Fruit – Valley Best: Locally grown although the tropical are from California ()

Dried Fruits

Dried Fruits

Jams – Miguel’s Homemade Salsa & More: (Pahrump, NV), No preservatives, uses Las Vegas farmers market produce &  grandmother’s recipe.

Jams

Jams

Teas & Seasonings – Bloomin’ Desert Herb: 85% locally grown herbs-organic & fare trade

Dried Herbs

Dried Herbs

Honey – Pahrump Honey Company-est. 1999

Mesquite Honey

Mesquite Honey

This honey is delicious! It’s pure, raw, desert honey from bees working the Great Basin Desert.
Bistro Blend:  Locally produced balsamic vinegar, olive oils and basting sauces—All oils and vinaigrettes are from Napa. I mix the Basil Garlic Parmesan Vinaigrette with their Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, toss it in my vegetables or drizzle it over mixed greens. Delicious!

I stopped to taste some great smelling sausage…

Sausages

Sausages

Tassoni’s Italian Sausage – locally-made, no preservatives, MSG, or nitrates (25% less fat and sodium). They make several great flavors (Sweet & Hot Romano Cheese, Sundried Tomato & Garlic, Cilantro & Onion, Andoville & Bratwurst) my favorite was the Sweet Romano Cheese.

Another great stop was Veg Out. When a vegan couple lost their jobs, due to the economy, they decided to start their own business. They make 5 new vegetarian dishes weekly using locally grown ingredients, no added fats and oils.

Veg Out

Veg Out

There were many other vendors I enjoyed getting to know. At this booth you can buy delicious Cajun boiled peanuts made with pickles. The peanuts had the consistency of a baked potato.

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts

One more thing … I usually buy these delicious dill green beans each week. They remind me of my Dad who had his own recipe. He was always canning and loved to share with his friends.

Pickled Green Beans

Pickled Green Beans

Of course, I couldn’t leave without having a little taste of dessert. I found homemade fudge with holiday flavors:  Pumpkin, Candy Cane & my favorite (featured flavor) Red Velvet.

Red Velvet Fudge

Red Velvet Fudge

The market wasn’t at full capacity due to the holiday weekend so my purchases were lighter than normal. These were my purchases for the day:

  • Apples-Bentzler Farms-$7.50
  • Red Peppers, Cauliflower, Beets, & Onion-D & D-$14.25
  • Raw Cinnamon Honey-Pahrump Honey-$12.00
  • Salsa-True Foods-$9.00
  • Sausage-Tassoni’s-$5.00

Worth every penny… nice afternoon, great food and a great time putting this together.

The goods

The goods

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