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BIG NEWS: Summer Tomato is Leaving San Francisco

by | Jun 11, 2015
New home

New home

After 18 years (say what?!) in the Bay Area and 12 in SF proper (don’t call it San Fran), I’m packing up and moving shop.

In a couple of weeks Kevin, Toaster and I are relocating to New York City to start the next exciting chapter of our lives.

As you can imagine we’re super excited, and also a little sad.

Read the rest of this story »

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Farmers Market Update: St. Stephen’s New York

by | Jun 19, 2011
Broccoli

Broccoli

Rachel Haynes is, among other things, a writer, devout foodie, and former caterer. She lives in an apartment with a comically small kitchen.

Farmers Market Update: St. Stephen’s New York

by Rachel Haynes

Many most people think of NYC farmers markets, they think of the huge one in Union Square. With over 140 vendors each week, it’s not hard to understand why. However, it’s about a 30-40 minute trek for me via subway and unless you get there right when it opens, the crowds are insane.

St. Stephen's Green Market

St. Stephen's Green Market

So instead I usually opt for my tried and true St. Stephen’s Green Market just a few blocks away from my cozy (tiny) apartment on the Upper East Side. This market recently became year-round, much to my delight. Another thing I love about it is that they allow dogs.

A great thing the main GrowNYC information stand does is provide delicious recipes for current produce. This week I took the roasted beet and chevre grilled cheese recipe card.

GrowNYC

GrowNYC

I always hit up Samascott Orchards for produce first. Though they’re about two hours from the city, I am going to try to go up there some time this summer because you can pick your own produce.

Being that it is late spring, we got treated to the new arrivals of beautiful broccoli (hooray for leaving the leaves on!) and sweet and crunchy snap peas.

Strawberries

Strawberries

The strawberries here are the sweetest I have ever tasted. In addition to eating them on their own, I have been mashing a couple up with a fork and serving them with champagne at brunch, which people have gone absolutely nuts for.

I love asparagus and am trying to savor every wonderful stalk during its short season. I was inspired by the NY Times article about asparagus and eggs, and have been making that combination for dinner in some fashion almost every night this week.

Asparagus

Asparagus

They also have absolutely amazing baked goods and jams.

No Sugar Apple Pie

No Sugar Apple Pie

For the rest of my produce, I hit up Gajeski Produce, which comes down to us from Riverhead NY.

They always have a beautiful assortment of lettuce, spring mix, kale, arugula, spinach, any salad leaf you could ask for. Today I also found beautifully bright little new potatoes.

Spring Greens

Spring Greens

Gajeski always have something a little quirky, and this week it was elephant garlic. This stuff is as big as a tennis ball and it is STRONG.

Elephant Garlic

Elephant Garlic

And then out of nowhere – scapes!

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

These were my favorite find this week. Garlic scapes are the shoots of the garlic bulb. As the bulbs start to harden underground, the farmer can ensure further growth by snipping the shoots. They taste amazing. They are like garlic but milder and somehow greener and brighter. I have mainly been using them with my egg and asparagus combos, but I hear that scape pesto is not to be missed, so I will be attempting that this week as well.

The rest of the market, which is in a parking lot of St. Stephen’s church, consists of smaller stands which carry meat, cheese, eggs, bread, fish and flowers.

Farmer Dan from Rabbits Run Farm in Pennsylvania introduced me to the delightfully named Goumi fruit.

Goumis

Goumis

Despite looking like little tadpoles, these things are nutritional powerhouses. Originally from Asia, they have the highest lycopene content of any food, and contain vitamins A and E. The seeds can be eaten and contain essential fatty acids and proteins.

They also help other things around them grow as they are nitrogen fixers and pull the nitrogen out of the air into the soil, which makes it more fertile. They are both sweet and tart and the same time.

Farmer Dan also sells beautiful goat cheeses, goats milk soap and lotions, as well as goat meat.

Soaps

Soaps

I don’t eat much beef, but when I do, I don’t mess around. I get it from Rising Sun Angus Farms, who carry free range, grass fed angus beef. The farmer showed me some amazingly lean ground sirloin (2% fat).

Ground Beef

Ground Beef

It’s gotten to the point where I can do about 70% of my shopping at the farmer’s market, which has not only been a lot healthier, it has been SO much cheaper. (To give you some idea, a quart of orange juice and a quart of milk at the supermarket will cost you $10).

My purchases this week (~$50):

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Spring Mix
  • New Potatoes
  • Shallots
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Goat Cheese
  • Goumis
  • Eggs
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Farmers Market Update: New York City

by | May 16, 2010

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce Kamran Siddiqi of The Sophisticated Gourmet. As you can probably guess, I have a soft spot for over achievers, and Kamran definitely qualifies. Not only does he run an immensely popular food blog while finishing his senior year of high school, applying to college and taking AP tests, he also takes stunning food photographs using only a point-and-shoot camera.

Kamran lives in New York City and creates simple but sophisticated recipes that anyone can make at home. I asked him if he would show us around the best farmers market in Manhattan, Union Square.

Follow Kamran on Twitter @ksiddiqi92 and Facebook, and find his photography on Flickr.

Update: Kamran got a new DSLR camera! Congratulations K!

Farmers Market Update: New York Union Square

by Kamran Siddiqi

New York is teeming with food bloggers, chefs, lineage cooks, photographers, and food journalists who have a passion for everything food related. Many of these home cooks and food bloggers leave the huge lines at Whole Foods, The Garden of Eden and Trader Joe’s to experience something even more amazing. These foodies swarm the streets, trains, and buses every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, to smell, poke, and pinch at in-season fruits and vegetables from one of the greatest markets in the city–the Union Square Greenmarket.

At the city’s top Greenmarket, foodies have access to extraordinary produce, fresh eggs, honeys, cheeses, meats and baked goods. They also have access to the people behind this whole operation–farmers, bakers, acolytes of Alice Waters, and people who believe in sharing great, locally-grown food with others.

A great deal of the foodstuffs are local, organic, and much of it all is naturally grown. Some of the great things that you will see at the Greenmarket include (but aren’t limited to):

Several varieties of potatoes.

Luscious organic greens.

Bushels of heirloom pears and apples.

Pure raw honey.

Fresh eggs.

Edible flowers for decorating cakes, eating in salads, adding to drinks, and for adding to dishes.

Of course this great market has much more to offer! So, if you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop at the Union Square Greenmarket, for some great local produce that will have you coming back for more! Trust me, you won’t leave the market empty-handed!

Have you visited the Union Square farmers market in NYC?

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Soda Tax Is A Great Start

by | Dec 19, 2008

New York Governor David Paterson recently proposed a state tax on soft drinks, defending his argument to readers on the CNN website.

After reading his proposal, I agree with him completely. I just wish Starbucks would be forced to carry some of the responsibility as well.

Taxing products known to be deleterious to public health is a proven way to reduce consumption, increase state revenue and raise awareness of the dangers of high-risk commodities (such as cigarettes). There is no reason to suspect New York wouldn’t see similar benefits in the case of soda. Junk foods and soft drinks are currently placing a tremendous burden on our society in both health care costs and lost working hours.

Moreover, high-fructose corn syrup (the primary sweetener in soda) is derived from corn crops that are heavily subsidized by the federal government. These subsidies artificially reduce prices of soda below the true cost of production. It is therefore hard to argue that the proposed tax is putting an unfair financial burden on consumers who wish to drink full-calorie beverages: currently it is the taxpayers who are footing the bill for the bad habits of others.

So although I still favor completely revising the farm bill, taxing consumption is a reasonable alternative.

Another thing to consider is that these products are essentially to candy what crack is to cocaine (quickly ingested poison), so they do indeed pose a unique hazard to American health and are thus an ideal target for the first junk food tax. The current proposal adds a 15% tax to non-diet sodas as well as fruit drinks that are less than 70% real juice, adding only a few cents to each individual purchase–$0.15 to the dollar.

Paterson estimates the tax will raise $404 million dollars in revenue for the state of New York, that would go toward public health programs, including obesity prevention.

Whatever happens, expect a ferocious battle from industry giants (and FOXNews). They will argue for consumer freedom and against the benefits of switching to diet soda (I agree with this one, no kind of soda is healthy), but will conveniently overlook the data linking junk food and soda to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer, as well as the costs to the American public.

The good news for the rest of us is that if New York does manage to pass this tax it is reasonable to expect California and many other states to follow suit (see trans fat and tobacco), resulting in a tremendous sea change in our nation’s policy toward junk food in general.

This is exactly the change we need.

Currently all Americans are paying for the poor nutritional culture our nation has embraced. The top 3 causes of death in the U.S. (arguably 5 of the top 7) are diet-related. It only makes sense to tackle obesity both as a nation and as individuals to protect our citizens and our economy.


Why Not Starbucks?

Unfortunately, right now it does not seem this tax will extend to the sugary cesspool which is Starbucks.

Did you know that a medium cafe mocha from Starbucks has more calories, sugar, cholesterol and saturated fat than a Krisy Kreme original glazed doughnut? Seriously, don’t go near that stuff.

It seems to me that Starbucks and other mega-chains (Jamba Juice?) selling sugar-blended drinks are just as liable as soda companies for promoting obesity with liquid candy, thus warranting the same burden of taxation.

I am not recommending traditional coffee drinks (espresso, cappuccino, etc.) be taxed–they do not contain sugar–but it is heartbreaking to see Frappuccinos being passed off as a morning pick-me-up when in fact they are no different from a milk shake with caffeine.

In short, I think this tax is a fabulous idea that finally begins to address the true costs of junk food and obesity, and I hope the trend continues.

How do you feel about sugar, taxes and Starbucks?

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