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Foodist Approved: Grilled Spring Veggie Salad with Farro

by | Apr 23, 2015
Grilled Spring Veggie Salad with Farro

Grilled Spring Veggie Salad with Farro

Now that the nights are staying warmer, we’ve finally rolled out our trusty grill. Over the years, it’s become tradition in our household that when it comes to grilling, my husband, Andy, takes over.

I’m not sure why I’ve never intercepted. He likes his meat charred until it resembles an inedible hockey puck, while I prefer my meat to come off the grill retaining some amount of life.

Recently, Andy was on the road, and I decided to fire up the grill all by my lonesome. To my delight, I discovered there’s something deeply satisfying about manning a grill. Sorry honey—from now on I’m the grill master.

I filled the grill grate with an assortment of seasonal veggies that I had simply drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. The asparagus, zucchini, and squash all turned out sweet and juicy with just the perfect amount of flavorful charring.

The best part was there were no pans to scrub after I devoured dinner.

Next time you’re grilling, cook up an extra large batch of your favorite seasonal vegetables—get creative with the assortment. Serve them the first night hot, right off the grill and the next day toss the leftovers into this satisfying salad and call it lunch or dinner.

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Foodist Approved: Braised Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms

by | Mar 25, 2015
Braised chicken with asparagus and mushrooms

Braised chicken with asparagus and mushrooms

Braising is my preferred method of cooking meat as of late. A quick sear followed by an effortless simmer ensures meat so tender that even my toothless nine-month-old devours it.

The flavors in this braised chicken dish were inspired by the start of spring. Move over root vegetables—asparagus are now stealing the limelight at the farmers market. The white wine lends a refreshing citrusy accent and the herbs de provence are reminiscent of spring flowers.*

The best part about this recipe is being able to accomplish every step, from the searing to the simmering to cooking the veggies and creating a sop-it-up sauce, in just one pot (the family member appointed to dish-duty will thank you).

The right pot is key in this recipe. If you’re not yet the proud owner of a Dutch or French oven, which is a large enameled cast-iron pot with a lid, then you should definitely consider investing in this worthwhile culinary wonder. I’m partial to Le Creuset French ovens, but there are less expensive brands out there too.

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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: 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: Fruit!

by | Jun 5, 2011
Sweetest Strawberries Ever

Sweetest Strawberries Ever

I don’t usually buy a lot of fruit. It’s not that I don’t like it, I think it’s wonderful. But it tends to be much more expensive than vegetables. And it’s also hard to get soft fruit home without smashing it.

But today, I couldn’t help myself.

Similar to last week, the cherries were just way too good to pass up.

Ranier Cherries

Ranier Cherries

But I also realized that I hadn’t even tried any of the newer fruit in the market, like these amazing blueberries. I sampled a few, and knew some would be coming home with me.

Delicious Blueberries

Delicious Blueberries

Then there were the plums. I love plums, but like tomatoes they are one of those fruits that are so rarely good that you forget what real ones taste like. Until you try one.

Fruits

Fruits

I thought it was a bit early in the season for plums to be good, but I was wrong. These were as sweet and luscious as I’d ever tasted, and of course I had to get some.

Virctoria Heirloom Rhubarb

Virctoria Heirloom Rhubarb

Amazingly, I still had to restrict myself from buying strawberries, even more cherries, and also some peaches I found that were unseasonably delicious. But I did have to save some of my money to get vegetables.

Radishes

Radishes

I’m mostly enjoying salads these days. I like them with French radishes, carrots, sugar peas, spring onions and usually some quinoa or lentils.

Beautiful Treviso

Beautiful Treviso

I’m not ready to buy them yet, but summer vegetables are becoming more common as well.

Early Summer Squash

Early Summer Squash

The strangest thing I found at the market this week was fresh Japanese ume plums, which I’ve only ever seen pickled. I might pick some up next week so if any of you have a recipe I’d love to hear it.

Ume Plums

Ume Plums

Today’s purchases (~$50):

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Farmers Market Update: Best Cherries Ever

by | May 29, 2011
Mountain of Cherries

Mountain of Cherries

I’ve been doing this farmers market thing for awhile now, and I have to say that cherries are without a doubt some of the most difficult fruit to photograph. They’re so bright red that it washes out nearly every detail on the fruit, and drowns every other color in the frame.

Consequently I rarely feature my cherry images, and today would have been no different if I didn’t think leaving them out would be a crime. Because anyone who went to the San Francisco farmers market this weekend knows that the cherries were the star of the show.

Tasty Strawberries

Tasty Strawberries

And that’s no small feat this time of year. Today I tasted a strawberry so good I thought it had been injected with sugar, because it reminded me more of the sweetened agua fresca drinks from the taquerias in the Mission district than it did any natural fruit.

But still the cherries were better. Not only that, they’re better than they were last year and possibly the year before that. Honestly it was difficult to not buy some from every farm I stopped at, and I do regret not coming home with more. Don’t miss the cherries this year folks.

Brooks Cherries

Brooks Cherries

Of course there were other notable spring treats as well. Rhubarb is here, and before the season ends I’m determined to try to figure out how to use it. Most of the recipes I’ve seen for it are sweet, which I’m not so excited about. If you know of any good savory recipe, please let me know.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Generally all the spring vegetables are still amazing. I’m especially loving the sweet spring onions, though I’m normally not a huge onion person. This year I’m adding green onions to everything from eggs to salad. The leeks are excellent too.

Spring Vegetables

Spring Vegetables

Oddly even summer produce is starting to appear. I was stunned today to see watermelon and peppers this early in the season. The vendor told me it was from their farm in Southern California, which makes a bit more sense.

First Watermelon

First Watermelons

But as much as I love summer, I’m not ready to skip ahead just yet. I still haven’t tried any of these beautiful blueberries on my morning muesli.

Blueberries

Blueberries

Nor have I found anything to do with green almonds yet this season.

Green Almonds

Green Almonds

And the last of the citrus fruits shouldn’t be ignored either. This late in the season tangelos, navel oranges and kumquats are the best. Though we had some spectacular blood orange juice this weekend as well.

Kumquats

Kumquats

It’s truly an amazing time of year for the farmers market. Don’t miss it.

Big Tomatoes

Big Tomatoes

Today’s purchases:

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