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Spotlight: Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market: A Photo Story

9 May

Though the farmers’ market I usually shop at is the Heart of the City, I stop by the Ferry Plaza a few times a year. This is not so much for the produce, as I find that the fruit and vegetables at the Heart of the City are quite fabulous and much less expensive, but for the items that are harder to find, The Ferry Plaza Market is great!

Since today was such a lovely San Francisco day, I decided to head out early to see if I could get to some of the market goodies that tend to vanish before 10am, beat the lunch crowd and take some photos.

I am also starting to keep a list of the farms that I learn about and how far they are from San Francisco. To see a map of North California farms that travel to or sell in San Francisco markets click here: Northern California Farms

http://www.massaorganics.com/ Chico, California

Massa Organics

Massa Organics

I have been a fan of Massa Organics since I first encountered them. They are one of the few grain producers in the area (currently brown rice and red wheat berries) and their almonds are wonderful too! You can even follow them on twitter now @MassaOrganics and get updates direct from the tractor. Which, if you are an agro-nerd like me, will make you giddy. But maybe that is just me. ..

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Summer Observations

25 Aug

This is most definitely the best time of year for produce at the farmers’ market. Just about everything that is available at any time of year in the Bay Area is in season. My favorite things available right now are the fresh beans (black-eyed peas, cranberry and edamame) the wonderful berries (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry,) fresh mission figs and dry farmed heirloom and early bird tomatoes. There are plenty of squash varieties too and lots of interesting melons. I love keeping track of when certain things are in season. Blueberries, edamame and figs tend to have a relatively small window of availability and I look forward to the different seasons of produce.

This is also the time of year for tourists. The city is full of visitors right now and, as I live in one of the most visited parts of San Francisco, I run into them frequently. It is interesting to see the different kinds of tourists, where the are from and how they respond to the small mountain of steps they must walk up or down when visiting Coit Tower. The gardens on Telegraph Hill are in full bloom right now, and continental Europeans walk up and down the hundreds of steps with ease, while British and American tourists voice there disbelief at the thought of anyone actually living here. How do people go shopping? Do they have to CARRY everything up and down these steps? How much further is it? What do you do if you need to run and get some milk?

Sometimes I feel like a bit of an oddity as I turn towards the building I live in and away from the people-filled steps as they watch me carrying groceries or household items. My cat is fond of following us up and down the steps as well and sometimes I catch her posing for photographs with the tourists. It’s terribly adorable and I often get the urge to tell people that she is my cat. She walks around like she owns the place.

Now, back to the food! Below are the recipes that I have made today, using the wonderful local ingredients that we picked up today.

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What Is This Herb? – Revisited

12 Aug

Some time ago I wrote about a strange herb that I acquired at the farmers’ market. I was told that it was called water mint, but all the photographs and information I found online could not confirm that. Thanks to a blog post over at Pinoy Cook, I think I have discovered what this plant actually is: Water Spinach!

Now to start searching for recipes!

Some interesting historical information about the water spinach here.

Farmers’ Market Excursion and a New Recipe.

28 Apr

So I was finally able to meet up with a good (and busy) friend of mine and took him to the farmers’ market. He brought his 3 year old son, who is adorable and smart and calls his father by the nickname of Gravel Balloon Face. How can you not love that? I recorded most of the trip and, assuming it all sounds pretty good, will be putting together my first podcast.

The weather has been really warm this weekend and I got a pretty good sunburn while walking around today. Due to the heat and not wanting to stand over a hot stove and cook dinner, I made a chilled soup which turned out great. The recipe is below.

Chilled Pea Soup
This recipe gets 4 Purkle Stars
4_purkle.jpg
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups steamed fresh English peas
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 cup fresh lettuce/mixed salad greens
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1-2 Tbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cut the zucchini into a few pieces and put in food processor. Put all other ingredients (leave the salt and pepper until last) into processor and blend until creamy. This recipe is similar to others out there but has less liquid and is lower fat so it won’t get perfectly smooth. You can add cream or stock if you are going for that texture. Otherwise, this is a pretty bright, crisp and fresh soup.

Serves 2-3.

A Pantry Examination

7 Jan

I am keenly aware of the fact that many of the spices and seasonings I have in my cupboard are not organic and definitely not local. I’ve started buying and drying my own herbs from local sources, and buying herbs, spices and staples when available. So I’ve decided to do a bit of research: look at what is in my pantry, see where it was made and see if I can find some local options.

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What is this plant?

11 Nov

So, a couple weeks ago, I started saving coffee grounds and tea to use as compost for my plants. Lat week, I started sprinkling the coffee around and noticed that there was something that had sprouted in the can. I looked around a bit more and found 2 others as well. I knew it couldn’t be the coffee, and I also knew that I had only put one bag of tea in there. I found what was left of the bag and it smelled of Earl Grey tea. So, these three little sprouts have now been planted and are happily growing in the back window. I imagine that they either have to be tea, or bergamot. It’s quite suprising to me that they sprouted in that dark can. But it was warm and damp and full of nutrients – and after steeping in very hot water as well. I look forward to finding out what the heck these 3 little guys are.

What is this herb?

11 Nov

I bought this herb last week at the farmers’ market and was told that it was water mint but, as you can see, this does not look like any photo of water mint I’ve seen so far. The smell is well, frankly, kind of grassy and a bit watery. If that makes any sense! It’s not terribly fragrant unless it’s very close. The taste is a tiny bit minty but, again, kind of grassy! The leaves are very tender and wilt easily. I’m just not sure what this is.  If anyone knows, please leave a comment!

And, yes, I know what grass tastes like…

mystery herb