FARMERS' MARKET REPORT: WEEK OF MAY 10, 2009

Santa Monica Farmers Market:  Beylik Farms

WHEEL OF LIFE:

“Good farmers use land according to its livelihood.  They are careful students of its natural vegetation, soil depth, structure, slope and drainage.  They are not appliers of generalizations, theoretical, methodical or mechanical.  Nor are they active agents of their own economical will, working their way upon an inert and passive mass.  They are responsive partners in an intimate and mutual relationship.
The attitudes and values of traditional agriculture still survive in our time and are supported by the experience of our time.  Their survival is marginal but survivors do exist.  Farmers are people of principle, both stubborn and adventurous, independent enough to trust their own experience and strong enough to hold in considerable isolation of truths not officially or popularily favored.  Their farms stand for their principles and prove them.”
– Wendell Berry, agrarian prophet, writer,  lifetime farmer and one of my heroes.  This excerpt is from his book “The Unsettling of America:  Culture and Agriculture”.
One does not follow the words of Wendell Berry without great shadows looming.  Wendell Berry gets it.  He has been been preaching the gospel of local eating since 1960.  His passion and focus are unwavering, his arguments and observations are more relevant today than ever.  Amid your culinary adventures, research, etc.  look him up.
In the meantime, find out what is happening in the word of produce right here at home.
~Melissa

MARKET UPDATE:

On the horizon:  42 million heirloom tomato varieties including Heirloom Cherry tomatoes from Coastal Organics.  Just a few less varieties of every size summer squash imaginable and stone fruits of every shape, size and texture.  Landing in the market from here through summer’s end!  As each variety appears the 411 will come your way!
Entering:  Cherries from Simms Cherry farm, First Lady Peaches from Fitzgerald Farms,  Baby Green Artichokes from Life’s a Choke, Green Onion Chives from Yasutomi Farm, Radishes, Radishes, Radishes and Black Plum Tomatoes from Jaime Farm, Meyer Lemons, Gold Nuggets and Murcott Tangerines,  from Garcia Organics, Russian Red Kale, French Leeks (slim, sweet and savory all in one!) and Oriental Mix (red and green frill!) from Windrose Farm, and All blues Potatoes and Red Spring Onions from Weiser Famly Farms.
Gapping:  Fiesole Artichokes from Life’s A Choke and Bloomsdale Spinach from Weiser Family Farms
Exiting:  Paige Tangerines from Garcia Organics, Black Kale, Baby Turnips (Coastal Organics) and Watermelon Randishes from Mcgrath Farms

MARKET TOUR:

Baby Green Artichokes – round, meaty and mild, more heart than other varieties, as it is simply a tinier version of its larger counterparts that get more sun.  100% edible!

Baby Green Zucchini with Flower – Life’s A Choke Farms inject water into each squash blossom’s stem to ensure their freshness and livelihood.  A wonderful and glamorous spring and summer menu accoutrement!!

Pencil California Asparagus – Skinny, tender, tasty purple-tipped and LOCAL! So thin it cooks in a flash!

Japanese Tomatoes – I just love these meaty tomatoes!  They are the most beautiful tomatoes at the market right now.  Great pre-heirloom season variety nicknamed the “Tough Boy” for its heat-resilient texture and succulence!

Gem Lettuces:  Red and Green from Coastal Organics – these lettuces are unparalleled in their sweetness, rich colors,  crisp textures and succulent leaves

French Leeks from Windrose Farms
Baby White Belly Radish – sweetest radish out there with edible greens too makes these 100% delicious.

Baby Celery – from Yasutomi Farm, more leaves than stalk, hydroponically grown, slender and almost herbaceously tasty stalks.  The best baby celery available. Period.

Meiwa Kumquats

Jerry’s Berries Strawberries (Galante variety) from Rutiz Farm – sweeter than candy!!
Jerry's Berries Strawberries from Rutiz Farm

Red Spring Onions –  Jaime Farm – big juicy bulbs! Great for multiple applications!

Fava Beans from CoastalMcGrath Farms
Fava Beans from Coastal Organics
Tom’s Terrific Tangerines – Polito Family Farm
Tom's Terrific Tangerines

Beylik Family Farms – Fillmore, CA

Persian Cucumbers – petite and crunchy! No seeds=sweet!
Japanese Tomatoes – “Tough Boy” brings hefty flavor, succulence and meatiness.
Yellow Tomatoes – sweet, tangy and heartier than your average yellow tomato!

Coastal Organics – Oxnard, CA

Fava Beans – beautiful, plump younger and non-starchy perfect beans.
Gem Lettuces – Green and Red, these are the perfect lettuce.  Sweet, succulent and crispy center.

Coleman Family Farm – Carpinteria, CA

Green Garlic – These are spring super stars!  Use the whites in sauces, on pizzas, sauteed for a steak! The greens are great for soups and stocks!  Once again 100% savorily edible!
Broccoli Spigarello – Leafy broccoli with ALL the broccoli flavor, but more delicate and beautiful!
Red Butter (Piret) Lettuce – you won’t find this anywhere else!  Awesome texture and buttery flavor!
Freckles Lettuce – Freckles! Sweet leaves, crispy inside.  Perfect lettuce carrier for salads!
Lollo Rossa Lettuce – great for mixed salads, beautiful deep purple-red.
Treviso – so young, you’ll barely recognize it. Deep green with a deep blush.
Radicchio – note: small heads! Perfect for plate garnishes.  Best Radicchio ever!

Fitzgerald Farms

First Lady Peaches – The first peach of the season and it is striking an impeccable balance of acidity and sweetness.  Makes for a perfect bite every bite!

Garcia Organic Farm – Fallbrook, CA

Meiwa Kumquats – a Japanese variety that has a sweeter pulp than conventional kind.
Gold Nugget Tangerines – sweet, juicy and easy to peel!
Murcott Tangerines taste like a Paige, easier to peel!
Meyer Lemons

Harry’s Berries – Oxnard, CA

Strawberries – Gaviota variety, deep dark red with a soft and sweet flavor appeal!

Jaime Farm – Ontario, CA

Mixed Baby Bunch Carrots – beautiful baby yellow, orange, red, and purple haze carrots with tops
Baby White Belly Radish – sweetest radish out there with edible greens, too makes these 100% delicious.
Shunkyo Radish – Shaped like a baby pink carrot:  one moment it’s hot, the next it is sweet!  My personal favorite!
Easter Egg Radish – mild, snappy flavor, vibrant color bouquet of pinks, reds and white.
Icicle Radish – looks like a white carrot (except the leaves)!  Rich spicy flavor can be smoothed out with a little saute and butter!
Rainbow Chard – striking colors, hearty leaves.
Small Zucchini with Flower – great stuffed and sauteed!  You have never seen any squash blossoms like this.  Show-stealers!
Chive Blossoms – all the great mild chive flavor with a decorative bonus!! AND The flowers taste great too!
Onion Whistles – beautiful buds, large hallow stalks, amazing!  just add water!

J.J.’s Lone Daughter Ranch- Bryn Mawr, CA

Cara Cara Oranges– a grapefruit and navel orange hybrid  gives it its signature salmon colored flesh with all the great sweet juicy orange taste!
Next week!  veriegated Pink Lemons!!

Life’s A Choke – Lompoc, CA

Baby Anzio Artichokes – a cross between green and purple artichokes, and very meaty!
Baby Green Zucchini with Flower – Life’s A Choke Farms inject water into each squash blossom’s stem to ensure their freshness and livelihood.  A wonderful and glamorous spring and summer menu accoutrement!!
Lyon Artichoke with stem– large and in charge! This is a very jumbo, round, meaty variety from Southern France that yields a whole lot of heart!!
“California” Pencil Asparagus – Skinny, tender, tasty purple-tipped and LOCAL! So thin it cooks in a flash!
Baby Green Zucchini with Flower – Life’s A Choke Farms inject water into each squash blossom’s stem to ensure their freshness and livelihood.  A wonderful and glamorous spring and summer menu accoutrement!!

McGrath Family Farm – Camarillo, CA

Wild Arugula – 3 Pound bag
Firecracker Lettuce – deep red,  a bit frilly! Great for mixed salads!
Baby Bunch Candy BeetsRed BeetsGold Beets, and White Beets
If you want beets, right now they are beautiful and priced to sell!!!
Fava Tendrils – sweet, soft and meaty flavor, great fish and meat accoutrement!!  Last WEEK!
Red Okami Spinach – a uniquely shaped leaf with a deep red stem and veins – great for sauteeing!
Baby White Japanese Turnips

Mike and Son Egg Ranch – Ontario, CA

Brown Eggs farm fresh eggs that are unequivocally delicious with gleaming yolks! Each egg is individually candled!  (5 doz case only)

Polito Family Farm – Valley Center, CA

Oro Blanco Grapefuit – golden-flesh, sweet and juicy – still going strong!
Tom’s Terrific Tangerines –  juicy squared, easy to peel, and almost seedless – terrifically yummy!!

Rutiz Farm – Arroyo Grande, CA

Sugar Snap Peas – sweet and snappy.  ’nuff said!
Persian Watercress– a unique variety, with a wonderfully spicy-sweet kick
Jerry’s Berries Strawberries– (pre-order only) worth every penny!! A must try strawberry!
Savoy Spinach – cut in small clusters of 3-4 leaves – beautiful!!
Romanesco – Jerry grows the perfect-sized heads, nicest ones at the market!

Simms Cherry Farm

Cherries – First picking of the season.  Sweet, dark and delicious.  Limited availability.  Early bird gets the ….

Weiser Family Farm – Bakersfield, CA

Red Thumb Potatoes – red skinned on the outside, and pretty in pink on the inside
Russian Banana Fingerlings – baker size, but oh so creamy..
All Blues Fingerlings – Similar in color to the purples, a little veriegation inside, mild, moist and great cooking potato!
French Heirloom Fingerlings – red-skinned, baker-sized and white-fleshed, has a very silky texture ( I love these!!)
La Ratte Fingerlings – nutty flavors, stand out fingerling, one of the best potatoes, ever!!
Mix Baby Carrots – last week, then gapping for about a month
Micro Mix Baby Carrots – last week, then gapping for about a month
Red Spring Onions – slimmer stalks and pear shaped bulbs, very new!
Baby Purple Broccoli – aka Red Arrow Broccoli, which is the specific variety. It’s not purple all the way through, but the green stem and leaves contrast it very nicely. It has a mild flavor and the farmer recommends slicing thinly and serving raw, or do a very quick saute if desired to keep the color!!
White Beets – the big ol’ ones, great for roasting and pairing with other beets for a milder, sweeter flavor
Bloomsdale Spinach – gapping for about 3-4 weeks

Windrose Farms

French Leeks – slender, savory and sweet..oh so french!
Russian Red Kale – wow!  Big, beautiful and hearty purple and red leaves!
Oriental Mix – ha!  You want red and green mustard frill?  Without all the unecessary stems?  This is it!  gorgeous “loose leaf” frill combo ready to spice up your culinary life!

Yasutomi Farm – Pico Rivera, CA

Baby Bok Choy – amazingly tender, great flavor, good for braising and hey, even the grill…
Baby Celery – more leaves than stalk, hydroponically grown, slender and tasty stalks.  The best baby celery available. Period.
Green Onion Chives – mild, sometimes sweet green onion and chive hydroponic hybrid. great shelf-life too!

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