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Farmers Market Update: The Great Outdoors

by | Apr 18, 2009
Strawberries

Strawberries

Today is the first truly nice warm day of the year, so I am not going to spend the rest of it writing this blog post. Instead I am going to quickly mention what’s hot at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and let the pictures speak for themselves. Then I’m going outside to enjoy the sunshine!

First Pick Organic Strawberries

First Pick Organic Strawberries

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Strawberries ruled the market today. They are officially everywhere and consistently delicious. I bought these lovely stemmed berries from Lucero Organic Farms, which has recently moved into the former slot of Ella Bella farms (source of the now infamous “Please don’t squeeze our tomatoes” photo I love to use). It turns out Ella Bella has relocated to Hawaii; I am a little heart broken.

Morel mushrooms finally dropped below $40/lb, so I gave in and bought some (don’t worry, they don’t weigh very much).

English Shelling Peas

English Shelling Peas

Tree Tomato and Lemon

Tree Tomato and Lemon

Tamarillos, or tree tomatoes, made an appearance today as well. They didn’t seem particularly ripe so I didn’t buy them, but it is an exciting prospect that they are back already.

English shelling peas and fava beans are both at the height of season right now. This week I chose the peas, since they are a little easier to work with. Fava beans will have to wait until next week.

Chili Powder

Chili Powder

Huge Leeks

Huge Leeks

Marin Roots Farm has kale rabe, which you could describe as a being similar to broccoli except ridiculously beautiful. The kind I bought is purple.

Eggs from Happy Quail Farms are back.

Jumbo leeks seem to be all the rage.

I bought tomatoes!!!! I got some yellow ones and a few heirlooms because they finally smelled good enough to eat. I couldn’t resist and had one for lunch today. They could be sweeter, but what Bruins Farms is offering is already vastly superior to anything you can get in a grocery store.

Hint of the day: The line at the Acme bread stand in the back is much shorter than the line inside the Ferry Building.

Purchases:

  • English shelling peas (Iacopi Farms)
  • Strawberries (Lucero Organic Farms)
  • Morel mushrooms (Far West Fungi)
  • Ramps (Far West Fungi)
  • Red kale rabe (Marin Roots Farm)
  • Eggs (Happy Quail Farms)
  • Assorted tomatoes (Bruins Farms)
  • New Mexico chili powder (Tierra Vegetables)
  • Asparagus (Zuckerman’s Farm)
  • Kiwi (Four Sisters Farm)
  • Fennel (Star Route Farms)
  • Arugula (Star Route Farms)
  • Tatsoi (Star Route Farms)
  • Thyme (Star Route Farms)
  • Swiss chard (Eatwell Farms)
  • Meyer lemons (Hamada Farms)
  • Tangelos (Hamada Farms)
  • Rio grapefruit (Hamada Farms)
  • Organic mandarins (Twin Girl Farms)
  • Epi loaf (Acme Bread)

Tell us what you found at the market today!

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How To Get Started Eating Healthy: Essential Groceries

by | Apr 10, 2009
Fresh Herbs

Fresh Herbs

Having the necessary pantry items is critical to getting started eating healthy, but obviously you need a lot more than that if you actually want to cook fresh, delicious food. Today I have prepared a list of groceries that should always be in your refrigerator. Many of these items are fresh, which means you need to buy them regularly.

(This post is part of the series How To Get Started Eating Healthy. Part one is Stock Your Pantry. Subscribe to Summer Tomato to get more free healthy eating tips)

As I have explained before you must set aside a small amount of time once a week to do your grocery shopping or else healthy eating will be nearly impossible. This time needs to be non-negotiable; you must find a way to make it happen.

So why not start to upgrade your healthstyle this weekend?

Put these groceries on your weekly shopping list and never take them off:

  • Shallots or leeks These are members of the onion family, but milder and sweeter than you might be used to. Even if you think you do not like onions, I recommend starting most vegetable dishes with one of these ingredients. Shallots are like small, mild red onions. Leeks are like large green onions, but tender and delicate in flavor. Here you can see pictures of leeks and shallots.
  • Garlic People feel very strongly about garlic, some can’t get enough while others avoid it. I have found myself in both camps at some point, but now I am somewhere in the middle. I go through a small bulb every week, but rarely use more than one clove per dish. With subtle amounts of garlic you can add depth and dimension to your meal. Too much can overpower all the other flavors.
  • Lemon As I explained when discussing vinegar, acidic foods are extremely important in cooking. Lemon has the added bonus of possessing an amazing zest that adds both sweetness and brightness to your food. I panic a little if I don’t have lemon in the house.
  • Parsley Flat leaf or “Italian” parsley is the perfect herb for everything. I always buy it, even if I do not know what I am going to use it for. It is also rather robust and keeps longer in the fridge than more delicate herbs, like cilantro. If you do not normally cook with parsley, definitely buy some and try it in your next vegetable dish. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
  • Fresh herbs Of all the other fresh herbs, I usually only pick one or two to have in my kitchen at once. Which ones I choose depends on the other foods I am buying. Mexican food thrives with cilantro and oregano. French style vegetables are beautiful with thyme. I cannot live without rosemary on my roasted potatoes. Mint is perfect with Moroccan food. Experiment! Fresh herbs can change the way you approach cooking. If you don’t know how to use something, Ask Me! or ask Google 🙂
  • Eggs I do not buy eggs every week, but I buy them regularly (always a half dozen farm fresh eggs). They are incredibly versatile and a great, quick meal any time of day. Check out my favorite scrambled eggs recipe.
  • Tofu or tempeh However you think you feel about tofu should probably be reexamined. It can be very delicious when prepared correctly. Regardless of the claims of Dr. Atkins, science tells us it is actually much healthier to get your protein from vegetable sources. I love meat in all its forms, but during the week I usually stick to vegetable protein and fish. And sometimes eggs.
  • (Soy) milk I use soy milk for my cereal and in my coffee. I know many people prefer different kinds of milk, and whatever you choose is fine. If you currently drink dairy milk, my only warning is to use it very sparingly. Consuming cow’s milk is strongly linked to increased risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis (I know!), acne, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. If you were raised in America and do not follow nutrition science, I’m sure this sounds insane (it did to me). Unfortunately it is true. Easy on the milk.
  • Condiments I mentioned last time I keep my soy sauce and almond butter in the refrigerator. The other condiments I keep handy are tahini, mustard, tomato paste, capers and olives. None of these are absolutely necessary, but they are nice to have around to mix up your flavors. They do not need to be purchased very often.

These groceries are always in my refrigerator and it is fair to say that I consider them essential. However, this list is by no means exhaustive.

Please share with us your favorite essential groceries so we can all benefit.

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