Sign up

You deserve to feel great, look great & LOVE your body

Enter your email for your FREE starter kit to get healthy & lose weight without dieting:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Pilates changes your brain, all your food is fake, and the big problem with people pleasing

by | Sep 9, 2016
For the Love of Food

For the Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup. It’s been a few weeks so I went ahead and included 15 excellent articles instead of the usual 10.

This week pilates changes your brain, all your food is fake, and the big problem with people pleasing.

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Foodist Approved: Radicchio Salad with Roasted Figs and Walnuts

by | Sep 22, 2015

roasted fig salad kopecky 2 edit sm

Since figs are in season just once a year, for a short period when summer fades into fall, this is the salad I’m devouring right now. The bitter radicchio paired with the sweet, caramelized, roasted figs and the salty crumbles of goat cheese satisfies every craving in one forkful.

Figs are one of those rare fruits that producers haven’t yet figured out how to grow out of season, ship from halfway around the world, or pick under-ripe and store for months on end. Therefore the figs you’re seeing right now at your grocery store or farmers market are at peak perfection.

Transform this salad into a nourishing meal, perfect for lunch or dinner, by tossing in a cup of cooked farro, wheat berries, or brown rice.

When figs are not in season, pears or grapes make impressive stand-ins.

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: Autumn

by | Oct 16, 2011
Winter Squash

Winter Squash

Alright Mother Nature, you win. It’s autumn now and I’ll accept it, even if San Francisco only had about five days over 80 degrees this year. I don’t need summer when I have produce like this.

Thompson Grapes

Thompson Grapes

Bring on your autumn grapes. Grapes have never been my favorite fruit, but they are so sweet and crispy this year I can’t resist them. I like wine too, and harvest is soon. Grapes are ok with me.

Flame Grapes

Flame Grapes

I’ll take your apples too. These heirloom varietals don’t taste anything like the overly sweet fujis I grew up with. These apples remind me of what I’ve always wished apples tasted like whenever I have apple cider.

Autumn Apples

Autumn Apples

And these little wickson apples, the size of golf balls, are as complex as a glass of wine.

Wickson Apples

Wickson Apples

Of course I don’t mind the sweet white pomegranates, with their pink seeds and delicate flavor. They aren’t as sour as the red ones are this early in the season, and the seeds aren’t nearly as tough and woody.

White Pomegranates

White Pomegranates

I finally gave in and got some brussels sprouts too. Sure I used to hate them, but once I learned the secret to cooking these little guys they became a welcome guest on my dinner plate. I’m especially fond of the smaller sprouts like the ones I found today, because they are almost never bitter.

Early Brussels Sprouts

Early Brussels Sprouts

With Halloween approaching not even the winter squash offend me, but these days I eat them instead of carve them.

Sugar Pie Pumpkins

Sugar Pie Pumpkins

Yes I’ll miss summer—or at least the idea of it. I’ll miss the peaches and plums.

Peaches

Peaches

I’ll revel in the last of the figs and melons.

Brown Turkey Figs

Brown Turkey Figs

Maybe if I’m lucky you’ll give me a few more weeks of eggplant.

White Eggplant

White Eggplant

Perhaps the sweet peppers will last until my birthday next month.

Sweet Peppers

Sweet Peppers

Or maybe the spicy ones will?

Hot Peppers

Hot Peppers

What always breaks my heart most is the tomatoes. I can live a few months without strawberries, but the tomatoes really get me. Everything is better with a dry-farmed early girl tomato on it. It will be hard to see them go.

Organic Cherry Tomatoes

Organic Cherry Tomatoes

But I love my cauliflower. (Pretty much everyone loves my cauliflower). And it will keep me company as fall rolls in and winter approaches.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

I’ll embrace your root vegetables as they sweeten in the cold.

Beets and Carrots

Beets and Carrots

I’ll give you some time on the persimmons though, I don’t think they’re quite ready yet.

Hachiya Persimmons

Hachiya Persimmons

Today’s purchases (~$40):

  • Heirloom kabocha squash
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Red Russian kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Wickson apples
  • Daikon
  • Ginger root
  • Garlic
  • Dahlias

Is your farmers market still running?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: Living Easy

by | Sep 12, 2010
Black and Green Figs

Black and Green Figs

It’s finally summertime in San Francisco. Woohoo! And what a beautiful day to return to my beloved farmers market.

Since I was sick and working on finishing my thesis I hadn’t been to the market in weeks, a lapse I haven’t made in years. It was terrible. But now that those things are behind me I was thrilled to return to the market today and stock up on delicious foods to get my healthstyle back on track. Life is good.

White Nectarines

White Nectarines

Sungold Tomatoes

Sungold Tomatoes

We are currently at the peak of summer: tomatoes are ripe, stone fruit is juicy and greens are plentiful. Now is your chance to get the best peaches, nectarines, figs, melons and pluots. I was so taken by the iridescent pink glow of these pluots I forgot to look at the name of the varietal (or maybe I’m out of practice).

Pluots

Pluots

I was sure to grab enough lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes for salads this week. I also got some kale for dinner, and green beans for more pickling.

Sharlyn Melons

Sharlyn Melons

Green and Yellow Beans

Green and Yellow Beans

I am also seeing the beginning of some of the fall fruits like grapes, pears and apples.

Comice Pears

Comice Pears

Grapes

Grapes

The apples looked amazing today. There are so many heirloom varieties I’ve never heard of, I grabbed a few different kinds just to get myself acquainted. I’m particularly excited about these pink pearl apples I found at the Apple Farm.

Jonathan Apples

Jonathan Apples

Pink Pearl Apples

Pink Pearl Apples

Nature never lets us forget that the next season is right around the corner. I spotted potatoes today and *gasp* winter squash. As delicious as they are, I don’t think I’m quite ready to make that leap yet, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my summer first.

Potatoes and Winter Squash

Potatoes and Winter Squash

There were a couple other interesting finds today in San Francisco. Langier Ranches was offering a fruit called paw paws, which look like a mango but taste more creamy and less acidic. I was also ecstatic to see my favorite bean company Rancho Gordo has started offering heirloom corn tortillas. Yes, I bought some.

Heirloom Corn Tortillas

Heirloom Corn Tortillas

Paw Paws

Paw Paws

Today’s purchases:

What did you find at the market this week?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: Ode To Summer

by | Jul 11, 2010
White Nectarines

White Nectarines

Dear Readers,

I know that many of you enjoy the farmers market and visit it regularly, and if this describes you I’m sure you already know what I’m about to write.

For those of you who like the farmers market but find yourself cooking up excuses each week not to go, it is time to talk yourself out of that habit. At least this once. If you’re ever going to make visiting your farmers market a priority, now is the time. This is the season when a taste of a simple plum can change your life (I got mine from Paradez Farms).

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Pluot Slices

Pluot Slices

There are only a few weeks of the year when berries and stone fruits haunt the market simultaneously, when you can get sweet cherries and perfect peaches. Even the tomatoes now would never be mistaken for anything other than a fruit. At this time of year it is possible to win friends with salad (I’ve done it many times already).

Summer Squash

Summer Squash

Green Chard

Green Chard

Today I saw children begging their parents to buy foods that most of us grew up hating (beets!). And I even bought a bag of broccoli simply because it was so cute. That’s right, even vegetables are getting their moment in the sun.

Adorable Broccoli

Adorable Broccoli

Summer Beets

Summer Beets

(the garlic and onions are photogenic??)

Summer Onions

Summer Onions

Purple Garlic

Purple Garlic

An added bonus is the late summer produce is just beginning to arrive as well. Today I bought my first corn, and saw eggplants available at a few different stands.

Bodacious Yellow Corn

Bodacious Yellow Corn

Mission and adriatic figs are also available, and surprisingly sweet for this early in the season. I even spied a few melons hanging out today, though I was too busy cradling peaches and nectarines to get one home safely.

Mission Figs

Mission Figs

First Eggplants

First Eggplants

And for today’s Moment of Zen, I present: kohlrabi.

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Enjoy the summer! And if you discover or learn to love anything new this year, please come tell us about it.

xoxox
Darya

Today’s purchases:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: Changing Seasons

by | Oct 4, 2009
Bosc Pears

Bosc Pears

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help but feel like there wasn’t much of a summer this year. In fact, if it weren’t for the amazing produce at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, I wouldn’t believe it had been summer at all. Shouldn’t I have tan lines by now?

Yet somehow it is October.

And despite the confusing weather, it is clear that the market is moving on to fall. There is still plenty of summer bounty to be found, but make no mistake about it: this is your last chance for stone fruit, tomatoes, summer squash, corn, eggplant and melons.

Zucchini

Zucchini

Sweet Organic Melons

Sweet Organic Melons

The Sungold cherry tomatoes (the little orange ones) are especially awesome. But the most impressive thing I found at the market today was the chili peppers.

I never cared much about peppers before I started shopping at the farmers market, but I can assure you that nothing smells better in my market bag than the peppers. (Maybe the basil. But not really.)

Extra Hot Peppers

Extra Hot Peppers

Chili Pepper

Chili Pepper

A fellow market goer was blown away that Tierra Vegetables had these Scotch Bonnet peppers, which she said are necessary for making Jamaican jerk sauce. I had already spent over $10 on peppers, so I held off buying them until next week. But aren’t the beautiful?

Pepper Chips

Pepper Chips

Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Scotch Bonnet Peppers

I also got to try these funny looking pepper chips from Happy Quail Farms, and they were delicious! Sweet, flavorful and crisp without a drop of oiliness. They had a spicy variety as well, but the woman scared me off from trying them because she said, “I mean really hot.” Again, maybe next week.

Also peaking now are figs, grapes, pears and apples.

Flame Grapes

Flame Grapes

Kadota Figs

Kadota Figs

But how we really know fall is here are the winter fruits and vegetables that are appearing. I saw the first persimmons this week at Twin Girls Farm. I also bought one of these adorable white and green baby pumpkins. I was told they are really sweet and easy to cook.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins

First Persimmons

First Persimmons

Pomegranates are also fantastic right now. I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine (shhh, don’t tell anyone): the white pomegranates at K & J Orchards are worth getting to the farmers market early for–before they sell out. They are sweet and amazingly flavorful, but the seed is much more tender than in a red pomegranate. Plus they are a beautiful pink color, amazing in salads or on cereal. Their season is shorter than the red pomegranates, so get them while you can.

(Read: How To Clean A Pomegranate)

White Pomegranates

White Pomegranates

White Pomegranate Seeds

White Pomegranate Seeds

I have another not so well kept secret for you today as well. The pears at Frog Hollow Farm have, against all odds, reached new heights. I’ve been obsessed with their Warren pears for years, and they are just coming into season. But right now I cannot get enough of their Taylor Gold pears. These things are amazing! What’s a girl to do?

Taylor Gold Pears

Taylor Gold Pears

Warren Pears

Warren Pears

Today’s Purchases:

What are you eating?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: Hints of Fall

by | Aug 30, 2009
Adriatic Figs

Adriatic Figs

Although I finally got my first sun tan of the summer this weekend at the Outside Lands music festival, the produce at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is hinting that summer is winding down.

Okra

Okra

First Winter Squash

First Winter Squash

You can still find all the wonderful summer tomatoes, pluots, peaches and melons, but delicate fruits like berries are becoming tart and more difficult to find.

Likewise, zucchini and crooked neck squash are still around, but I was shocked to find the first thick-skinned winter squash this weekend too.

Assorted Grapes

Assorted Grapes

Niitaka Asian Pears

Niitaka Asian Pears

Other hallmarks of fall are apples, pears and grapes, which are all spectacular right now. This is also a great time to get figs, dates, jujubes (Chinese dates), French plums (prunes), corn, okra, eggplant, melons and chili peppers.

Chantenay Carrots

Chantenay Carrots

Jujubes

Jujubes

I found some gnarly, giant chantenay carrots that I plan to turn into soup using my new hand blender. I also purchased the ingredients to make some delicious Thai food this week, since my lifetime cuisine poll from Wednesday reminded me how much I love it.

My final advice this week as summer winds down is to go to Frog Hollow and get some flavor king pluots while you still can.

Did you find hints of fall at the farmers market this weekend?

Today’s Purchases:

  • Chinese eggplant (Chue’s Farm)
  • Lemongrass (Chue’s Farm)
  • Okra (Chue’s Farm)
  • Thai peppers (Chue’s Farm)
  • Thai basil (Chue’s Farm)
  • Garlic (Chue’s Farm)
  • Chinese long beans (Chue’s Farm)
  • Green onion (Chue’s Farm)
  • Early Girl tomatoes (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Cippolini onions (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Chanentay carrots (Tierra Vegetables)
  • Red flame grapes (Capay Canyon Ranch)
  • Flavor king pluots (Frog Hollow Farm)
  • Red flame nectarine (Frog Hollow Farm)
  • Pimento pepper (Happy Quail Farm)
  • Miyogi ginger flower (Happy Quail Farm)
  • Mediterranean Cucumbers (Happy Quail Farm)
  • Arugula (Marin Roots Farm)
  • Purslane (Marin Roots Farm)
  • Lettuces (Marin Roots Farm)
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: San Francisco’s Finest

by | Aug 16, 2009
Perfect Squash Blossoms

Perfect Squash Blossoms

Today I am going to let my pictures do most of the speaking for me. In case you haven’t noticed, we are in the height of summer and in my opinion this is about as good as the farmers market gets.

At times like these I wonder why anyone bothers to eat unhealthy.

The squash blossoms from Star Route Farms were absolutely breathtaking–little treasures just waiting to be taken home, stuffed with herbs and goat cheese and deep fried. If I had more time this weekend these would have definitely been on my shopping list.

Mango Plums

Mango Plums

Summer Fire Nectarines

Summer Fire Nectarines

Peaches and nectarines are peaking, firm but still sweet and juicy.

Flavor king pluots are the rage at many of the fruit stands, but do not over look the flavor queens, flavor hearts, flavor grenades or any other part of the “flavor monarchy,” as I call it.

The mango plums at Catalán Family Farms were particularly impressive Saturday morning.

Mission Figs

Mission Figs

Flame and Thompson Grapes

Flame and Thompson Grapes

I’m tempted by strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes and currants at every turn.

This time of year I am always sure that each week I try a new variety of melon. Today I bought an ambrosia melon from The Peach Farm–Ed was nice enough to pick me out the best one. A single sniff of the rind and I new I was bringing home something special.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Cranberry Beans

Cranberry Beans

Not surprisingly, the second best smelling things in my market bag were my peppers from Happy Quail Farms. This time I am trying the hot banana pepper!

Yes, you read that right. Jealous?

Oh, and have you tried the summer tomatoes? I can’t decide which I like more: the early girls, the cherry tomatoes or the big fat heirlooms? I usually end up buying all of them.

Tomatoes and Figs

Tomatoes and Figs

Hot Banana Peppers

Hot Banana Peppers

I hope you are all having as much fun right now as I am!

Today’s purchases:

What did you get at the market?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: What’s the point?

by | Jun 28, 2009
Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes

Healthy eating starts with fresh, seasonal produce, preferably from your local farmers market.

Years ago when I started my column at Synapse and began advocating seasonal vegetables as the best path to health, one of the most common questions I got was, “How do I know what’s in season?”

In response to this I wrote my first Farmers Market Update, and this has become one of the cornerstones of Summer Tomato.

There are many reasons I write these updates every week, but occasionally it is important to step back and make sure my objectives are met with each post.

Here are the main goals I aim to achieve with my Farmers Market Updates:

Education

As mentioned above, I hope that by reading these Farmers Market Updates you will get a feel for what is in season. Even if you are shopping at your local supermarket, seasonal produce is your best bet.

Follow along to get a general idea of what you should be eating this time of year.

Inspiration

For me just seeing the beautiful vegetables, fruit and other goodies at the farmers market makes me want to spend the rest of the weekend in the kitchen–and I’m not exactly the domestic type. With Farmers Market Updates I hope to inspire you to find your own local markets and look for the best seasonal produce you can find.

Going to the farmers market is by far the best part of my week and I wish you could all experience it with me. I realize not everyone has the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to wake up to on Saturday mornings, but your own farmers market is still better than anything you will find at a big chain store.

There is nothing like spending a little time with the local farmers that grow the food you eat. Every meal you prepare with these ingredients is special, even if it isn’t exotic.

Demonstration

I’m the first to admit that cooking can be scary and the thought of it overwhelming. Most of us were never taught how to use a stove, let alone poach an egg. But we are extremely proficient at using Google to help us figure things out, right?

Cooking is no exception.

I make a point of finding things at my farmers market that I do not know how to cook. Why? Because exploring new foods is one of the most important things in making healthy eating fun and enjoyable. You can even rediscover foods you think you don’t like by buying them at the height of season and learning to cook them properly.

I promise, liking things is more fun than not liking things 😀

I try to convey this sense of adventure in my Farmers Market Updates. This week, for example, I bought all the flavors I associate with Thai food even though I do not have a specific recipe in mind. I also purchased some lemon cucumbers simply because they looked cool.

You do not need to know how to cook something before you buy it. Vegetables are cheap, just get what looks good and figure the rest out later. Email me if you need suggestions!

———-

Farmers Market Update

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Brown Turkey Figs

Brown Turkey Figs

Summer officially started this week in San Francisco (according to me). With melons and figs popping up all over the place, there is no way I can keep sitting here and telling you it is springtime.

Woohoo!

Thai Basil

Thai Basil

Purple & White Peppers

Purple & White Peppers

Summer tomatoes are already fabulous, summer squash are as sweet as can be (especially the yellow Zephyrs!) and who knew there were so many kinds of cucumber? Green garlic has morphed into the bulbous “fresh garlic.” Green beans are starting to appear and there are 2 kinds of basil. Not one, but two!

Darya is happy.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Fresh Garlic

Fresh Garlic

Check out my first Farmers Market Update video from my new apartment. It is just under 3 minutes.

Today’s Purchases:

What did you find at the market this week?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,