Have you ever tried Kohlrabi? Yes? Well I guess I was left off this bus too, because this was my introduction to Pinnacle Farms Purple Vienna Kohlrabi. Related to the cabbage, the bulb at the bottom can be peeled and eaten raw, sauteed or steamed. Accordoing to another market shopper, “It’s a bit like cauliflower stem, but sweeter and better!” It happens to be loaded with Vitamin C and Potassium, so grate in on your next salad or add it to your crudité platter.
Green Garlic is in full bloom from Happy Boy farms this week. It’s not usually the first garlic of choice for home cooks, as it doesn’t look anything like the standard variety and has a milder, more delicate garlic taste. Even so, it gives a well rounded depth to soups and sautés that standard garlic doesn’t always provide. Bonus points to green garlic for its abilty to be eaten raw in salads.
I will no longer be intimidated by vegetables like romanesco. It has never crossed my path before, but it certainly caught my eye this week. It’s most like cauliflower, which could be the least intimidating vegetable ever. Romanesco can be served just like cauliflower: as crudité, in soup, steamed, baked or sautéd. It’s just little bit nuttier than cauliflower, which certainly inspires me to welcome it home.
India Clay Oven, of San Francisco, has been bringing their tandoor oven to the Temescal Farmer’s Market for the past month and sampling their warm, fresh naan. It’s a wonderful treat for the morning stroll around the market, but I am told it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and will be very nice after a brief stint in the toaster oven. It would never last a week at my house.
Notice anything wrong with this photo of the Blue Bottle espresso machines at the Temescal Farmers Market this weekend? Maybe it’s that no one is on them? Typically, you can find a least three baristas cranking away all morning, but due to a leaky propane hose, it was drip only for the day. I’m sure the drip was still worth the wait.
Best consumed traditionally, peel and pop, the Cara Cara, is back at the market. It tends to have a short season so hit these up now. Alpine Blue Farms claim it’s a cross between a navel orange and a ruby red grapefruit. But the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at UC Riverside explains that it was a mutation from a Washington navel orange tree discovered at the Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela in 1976. And a delightfully juicy and bold mutation it is.
If you are lucky enough to frequent the farmers markets that stay open year ’round, then you may have noticed piles of orange produce.
My favorite orange delights are the satsuma mandarins. My lazy nature loves the zip peal and mostly seedless pulp. Eating two or three at time is typical, and when my recipes this time of year call for orange zest, I grab a couple of satsumas to do the trick.
I can finally find hachiya persimmons soft and mushy and ready to eat like a slushy. It was worth the wait. If you have ever tried eating these before they are ripe, you know by your puckered lips that something was not right with the situation. It’s the fuyus that are great to eat when they are still firm.
If you have never had a freshly picked, organic carrot, now is the time to indulge. Think rich and juicy, unlike the whithering varieties bagged in plastic. Carrots are pretty cheap right now, so take advantage and start making soups and salads. You might just ward off cancer, stroke, high cholesterol, and other infections as you revive your mothers recipe for carrot raisin salad (which you should then share with me).
Happy Boy Farms was showing off their Nancy Hall Sweet Potatoes this weekend at the Montclair Farmers Market. Just as heirloom tomatoes made their way into mainstream home cooking, sweet potato varieties are on their way.
According to the Steele Plant Company, Nancy Halls tend to be a favorite of the silver fox set, as Nancy Halls gained their popularity in the 30′s and 40′s. That qualifies as a “remember when our food supply was still uncorrupted?” moment. The yellow flesh and thin skin make a juicy baked potato. Now just serve it still wrapped in foil, and you have haute cuisine circa 1936.
This week, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was more of a spectacle than usual, with Brussels sprout revivalists trying in vain to shove the stunning stalks into fancy, woven, farmers market baskets. One lady had it slung over her shoulder like a pair of skis. It was easier for one couple to put baby on daddy’s shoulders and the spiny vegetable cluster in the Bugaboo. Nevertheless, we all know it’s worth the effort, and not just because they are full of Vitamin A, C and iron. My parents were wrong, it might just be the most pleasant cabbage to eat.
The farmers’ markets are over-flowing with cherries right now, but that will end soon. You had better stock up now. When you see six stands, all selling Bings and Raniers for about the same price, how do you decide? Some people sample, some are loyal to a certain farm, some pick the stand with the biggest crowd or shortest line. It’s a personal choice everyone has to make for themselves. However, when one sees a sign like this, from Wild Boar Farms, I highly recommend taking it into consideration.
The beloved Prather Ranch meat truck, packed and ready for the Grand Lake Farmers Market, was broken into last night on Telegraph Ave in Oakland. 40 pounds of buffalo jerky was taken, as well as farmers market signage and important documents worthless to the thief. Now, what will that guy (it was a guy) do with all that jerky?
Here are some suggestions on how the thief can unload 40 pounds of buffalo jerky.
1. Give it back to the hard working, ethical, family ranchers, but send a little my way before you do. After all, this is my idea.
2. Set up a lemonade stand nowhere near Telegraph Avenue, and sell the buffalo jerky on the sly. Tell people it pairs nicely with lemonade. Give all proceeds to Alameda County Food Bank to ensure you don’t go directly to hell.
3. Next week, set up a stand at the Grand Lake Farmers Market right next to the big, strong, cattle and buffalo slaughtering ranchers who made the jerky and try to sell it at half price. Let me know how that works out for you.
First I must say that I appreciate the farmers’ markets that are year round. There is something very romantic about a quick run through a rainy farmers’ market. The combined smells of the rain and produce make the produce seem all that fresher, if that were possible.
I had to do a double take as I passed by Zuckerman Farms, as if I saw a celebrity over my shoulder. No, it was the first asparagus of the season. And with two hours left of the market, this is all that was left. I was obviously not the only one clamoring for a new vegetable in my 2007 winter repertoire.
Hamada Farms had these beautiful Meyer Lemons ready to take home. I was tempted but there is a disconnect when it come to spending $2.00/lb on something that no less than 3 people on my street will almost pay me to take off their plentiful trees. I opted for the Melo Gold Grapefruit which is actually a hybrid of the pomello and marsh grapefruit. I have always stayed close to the ruby reds, but feel pretty silly about that now. The Melo Gold has a complex flavor that is not overpowering or tart. The real test for me was that I did not feel the need to sweeten the big juicy sections. Hazah!
Temescal Farmer’s Market 2/11/07
Pinnacle Farms had every root vegetable I can imagine and I wanted to buy some of each. But I am no stranger to buying more than needed only to find slimy brown science projects in the vegetable bin, so I settled for one parsnip, one celery root and some carrots. I still have one turnip from last week, which I roasted with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. The key is to roast them well, until they are soft and caramelized. I had to steal the darkest wedges from my husband’s plate when he wasn’t looking. As mentioned last week, I snacked on the raw turnips. Not bad at all. Those crazy Norwegians.
The blood oranges are still driving me mad. Why didn’t I get those when I was growing up? We had naval oranges, and maybe tangerines. Now it’s easy to find Satsumas, Blood Oranges, Tangelos and Pomelos. Can you imagine how beautiful a citrus salad would be. I think I just figured out dessert for tonight.
And now I have been introduced to peppercress. It looks small and tender. The name warns you that it has bite. It’s often mixed in with salad, but I probably wouldn’t notice. I just want a bowl of peppercress with a little lemon juice. Or maybe with my citrus salad and I’ll eat it before dinner, because that now that I am all grown up, I have the right to eat dessert before dinner.