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Farmers Market Update: Is It Spring Already?

by | Jan 16, 2011
Pomelo

Pomelo

Residents of San Francisco woke up Saturday morning to a veritable spring day. The the sun was shining, the sky was clear and maybe, just for a moment, you could walk outside without a jacket.

It was great to see the farmers market bustling for the first time since the holidays. Crowds were not only drawn by the weather, but also by the Good Food Awards that were being held this weekend at the Ferry Building. The GFA “grant awards to outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients.” Here are the winners.

Spring Onions

Spring Onions

Good Food Awards

Good Food Awards

Spring wasn’t only in the air, it was also peeking out from some of the farm stands. I caught my first glimpse this week of spring onions. It isn’t much, but is a sign of what’s to come.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Winter citrus is just now ramping up. Blood oranges and satsumas are my favorite now, but I’ll be hitting the pomelo scene next week for sure.

Satsumas

Satsumas

Orange Slices

Orange Slices

I’ve also been really impressed with the carrots lately, I’m really starting to appreciate how many varietals there are. Little ones, big ones, purple ones, white ones, orange ones. All very tasty.

Baby Beets

Baby Beets

Carrot Bouquet

Carrot Bouquet

Of course, root vegetables in general are excellent now, very colorful and sweeter than they are most of the year. Like carrots, the variety of turnips is impressive.

Scarlet Turnips

Scarlet Turnips

Large Turnips

Large Turnips

Lastly, don’t forget your winter greens and herbs. Kale, chard and especially cabbage are as good now as they will be all year.

Winter Herbs

Winter Herbs

Cabbage

Cabbage

I didn’t buy much today since I left straight from the farmers market to Lake Tahoe. I just stopped by for the beautiful pictures.

What did you find at the market this week?

If you’d like to share your farmers market experience at Summer Tomato, please read this.

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Farmers Market Update: Citrus Season

by | Jan 9, 2011
Blood Oranges

Blood Oranges

This week was my first farmers market trip of 2011, and it’s great to be back. I’m happy to see that in the few weeks I was away the full array of winter citrus fruits has now become available, from brilliantly colored blood oranges to giant pomelos.

Blood oranges with their deep red flesh have a much richer juice than their navel counterparts, and are a fantastic addition to winter cocktails and elixers.

Pomelo

Pomelo

Navel Oranges

Navel Oranges

Here in San Francisco you can also find several varietals of mandarins, the satsuma being the most prevalent. These are great easy snacks because they are small in size and their skin is particularly easy to peel. You can also find grapefruit, lemon, lime and citron, and we’ll be exploring these more in the coming weeks.

Besides citrus, you can also find pears, persimmons, pomegranates and kiwi this time of year. The persimmon I tasted this week might have been the best I’ve ever tried (at Kashiwase Farm), and I recommend getting them while you can since they will only be around a few more weeks. Same for the pears and pomegranates.

Persimmon

Persimmon

Shun Li Asian Pears

Shun Li Asian Pears

I also really love winter vegetables. This season my attention usually turns to hearty greens like kale and chard, as well as winter squash (delicata are my favorite, followed by kambocha–neither of which require peeling).

Delicata Squash

Delicata Squash

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

I’ve also really been enjoying cabbage lately, playing around with recipes for coleslaw, sauerkraut and kimchi.

Organic Cilantro

Organic Cilantro

Winter Produce

Winter Produce

And though I tend to forget about them (but totally shouldn’t), now is the time for root vegetables like radishes, potatoes, sunchokes and fennel. I made an effort this week to bring some home with me.

Fennel

Fennel

Sunchokes

Sunchokes

I can’t get over how pretty these watermelon radishes are.

Watermelon Radish Slice

Watermelon Radish Slice

This time of year I also cook a lot of beans and lentils. The heirloom beans at Rancho Gordo have received national attention for their amazing flavors and textures. I have an impressive collection of them in my pantry.

Scream Sorbet

Scream Sorbet

Rancho Gordo Beans

Rancho Gordo Beans

Finally, though I’m not a sweets person these days (I have completely given up sugar in January) I was happy to see Scream Sorbet has now set up a booth at the Saturday farmers market (previously they only sold on Thursdays). Scream is amazing because they create local, seasonal sorbet flavors that will blow you away. It’s pretty common when inquiring about an ingredient in one of their sorbets to have them point at a nearby produce stand and say, “we’re using those grapes right there.” How awesome is that?

As always I had a wonderful time and it was totally worth dragging myself out of bed, even on a Saturday.

If you’d like to share your farmers market experience at Summer Tomato, please read this.

Today’s purchases*:

*I overslept a bit and the market was pretty picked over. My bad.

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Farmers Market Update: Holiday Weekend

by | Nov 29, 2009

Leeks and Beets

Leeks and Beets

Probably my single favorite thing about Thanksgiving is that no matter what, it is always on a Thursday.

This simple temporal restriction gives us three full days to recover from too many mashed potatoes and that extra slice of pie we really didn’t mean to have. It also gives us time to stock up on healthy foods for the following week.

The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market tends to be relatively empty after a holiday, which is nice for regular shoppers. I used this opportunity to sleep in a little and stroll slowly through the market once before going back and making the bulk of my purchases.

As expected, peppers, tomatoes and all other remnants of summer are now virtually non-existent, while signs of winter are undeniable.

Mandarins

Mandarins

Mandarins, lemons and oranges are widely available, and today I found the first pomelo of the season.

Pomelo are like huge grapefruit with thick skin, except they are not sour. I first learned to appreciate these fruits in Thailand, where vendors will cut and clean them for you right on the street. These big green pomelo with pink flesh are probably my favorite variety (but don’t hate me if I change my mind 2-3 times this season as new ones come out).

Early Pink Pomelo

Early Pink Pomelo

Meyer Lemons In Basket

Meyer Lemons In Basket

As much as I love citrus though, it is still tough for me to get too excited about it when pears, apples and persimmons are so unbelievably perfect.

Fuyu Persimmon

Fuyu Persimmon

In the vegetable world, the rockstars this week are roots, stalks and hearty leaves. I’ve been loving Tuscan kale (the dark, bumpy variety), chard, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fennel and Brussels sprouts.

Celery, leeks, beets, onions and sweet potatoes are also worth playing around with this time of year.

Organic Celery

Organic Celery

Taylor Gold Pears

Taylor Gold Pears

And of course, I’m still obsessed with winter squash. With nothing but olive oil and sea salt, roasted red kuri squash tastes like pumpkin pie only better.

Lastly, it seems that the weekend after Thanksgiving is also the best time to go to the farmers market if you happen to be Super Mario.

If you live in SF, it is worth a trip to the Ferry Building just to see these GIGANTIC porcini mushrooms. I wouldn’t even know where to start with one of these bad boys, but I can’t help but marvel at them with a twinge of envy.

Giant Porcini

Giant Porcini

Seriously, what could you do with a mushroom like this besides grow super big or get a 1UP? If I had a few of these I could definitely save the princess.

Chantarelles, trumpet mushrooms and several other normal-sized fungi varieties are also in season.

Did any of you make it to the farmers market this week?

Today’s Purchases:


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Farmers Market Update

by | Jan 10, 2009
fennel

fennel

Lucky be the ones who found their way to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market this morning. It was bright and sunny, so naturally I expected a bone-chilling cold down at the Embarcadero. But by global warming some miracle it was actually pleasant today, approaching 70 degrees. T-shirt weather if I’ve ever seen it.


It would be hard to imagine a more beautiful mid-January morning at the market.

This week the produce was very similar to what I found last week. Fennel is starting to become more abundant, as you can see by the main photo. And the pomelos seem to just keep getting bigger and bigger.

As for my purchases, the kohlrabi I bought last Saturday got me excited about root vegetables that are edible raw. So today I got a couple lo bok, a green relative of the daikon or Japanese radish (sorry I didn’t get a good picture). These vegetables are super crisp and moist, with a texture similar to jicama. They are relatively sweet for a vegetable and make a great appetizer or side dish when cut up into slices or sticks.

I also tried to buy some kaffir limes, but the guy said he forgot them this week and will definitely have them next week. I got an assortment of other citrus fruits to make up for it.

The most notable new purchase I made today was a whole free range chicken from the Golden Gate Meat Company. That’s right, I bought meat! I want to make a soup this weekend to take with me to work for lunch. As always, I will keep you posted on my experiments.

I also stocked up on tamarillos.

Today’s purchases:

  • Free range chicken (whole)
  • Tamarillo
  • Lo bok
  • Rio red grapefruit
  • Cara cara orange
  • Blood orange
  • Meyer lemon
  • Kiwi
  • Romanesco
  • Chinese broccoli
  • Traditional broccoli
  • Kabocha squash
  • Dino kale
  • Pink lady apples
  • Pomegranate
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Yirg coffee

Any of you find anything interesting today?

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Farmers Market Update: Santa Monica

by | Dec 30, 2008


I finally made it to the big Santa Monica farmers market on the 3rd Street Promenade. Woohoo!

It was a beautiful, freakishly sunny December morning, exactly what I would expect out of L.A. I didn’t buy a lot because, well, I’m on vacation and actually live in San Francisco. But it was a great experience and I hope to make it back one day for their Wednesday market, which is apparently twice as big.

In a future post I will give all the details of how to navigate this particular market, including maps, parking info and what days not to go.

For now I will just say that if you are in the neighborhood it is definitely worth the trip. The pomelo I bought was by far the best I’ve had in this country (Thailand pomelos still win).

There were a bunch of things I would have loved to try if I could have brought them home with me.


Santa Monica purchases:

  • Fuji apples
  • Meyer lemons
  • Pomelo
  • Giant fuyu persimmon
  • Empress dates
  • Hydroponic baby bok choy
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Farmers Market Update

by | Dec 20, 2008

pomelo

Winter solstice is tomorrow, so today was officially the shortest farmers market day of the year. And with Christmas only a few days away, the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was filled to the brim with holiday cheer.

Here in the City, citrus has almost completely taken over as the most dominant fruit. The market also has lots of hearty greens and herbs, as well as winter squash and root vegetables.

I am going away again this week so I could not make too many purchases. The coolest thing I bought was a Himalayan Black truffle to go with my Eatwell eggs (another first time purchase).

Be very excited!

For those of you who are in to chocolate, Scharffen Berger has a new Brazilian variety that sounds amazing….

Next week I will be in southern California again. I will let you know if I find another good farmers market.

Today’s purchases:
  • Fukushu Kumquats
  • Himalayan black truffle
  • Sierra Beauty apple
  • Gold apple
  • Eatwell egg
  • Padrones
  • Asian pear
  • Midnight Moon cheese
  • Italian plum jam
  • Scharffen Berger chocolate (assorted)
  • Blue Bottle coffee
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