FARMERS MARKET REPORT: WEEK OF JANUARY 17, 2010
Local Truffles: both white and black, roughly the size of walnuts and sold by the ounce are available at the farmers market via Clearwater Farms. The white truffles are extremely fragrant and intense with a rather short shelf-life. The black truffles are milder but they are more hardy than the white truffles. These truffles are sniffed out from the forest ground by trained dogs that find the richest mature truffles that release a musky aphrodesial scent. Imagine, fresh truffles harvested right here ! A rare treasure, indeed…
Schaner Farms has green garlic!! fresh hen eggs and beets! Coastal Organics has beautiful lettuces and baby broccoli. Baby artichokes are on hiatus until mid-January. Cara caras from Rancho Del Sol have arrived as well as our first supply of blood oranges from Beck Grove!!! Apples are done.
Lots of rain this week = tougher harvesting and we have gotten lots of word from the farmers that supplies are limited.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WINTER CROPS:
Bacon and Fuertes Avocados, Cabbage, Cardones, Baby Cauliflower, Celery Root, Cherimoyas, Citrus: Buddha’s Hand, Grapefruit, Meyer lemons, Mandarins, Kumquats (late winter), Blood Oranges, Pomelos, Tangelos, Dates, Escarole, Fennel, Kale: Black, Peacock, Kohlrabies, Leeks, Mushrooms: Black Trumpet, Chanterelle, Oyster, Shitake, Nettles, Parsnips, Radicchio, Radishes, Sapotes, Sorrel, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Turnips, Winter Squash
Allow this to be your navigational guide to menu-making and spontaneous cravings, getting what’s in season locally and just one chapter of living, breathing sustainability.
Citrus has taken over the market landscape!
Blood oranges, cara cara oranges
Lee, kishu, satsuma and clementine mandarins, pomelos, oro blanco grapefruits, meyer lemons, bears limes, kaffir limes – it’s time for our favorite winter fruits!!! Soon…..kumquats!
Sugar Snap Peas are back!! Rutiz Farms, snappy, succulent and sweet!
WINDROSE FARM HAS BEAUTIFUL CHINESE AND JAPANESE CABBAGE AS WELL AS AN UBER SWEET “Dollhead” ESCAROLE – You really need to check these out!!
Chinese Chirimen Hakusai: A loose leaf yet large cabbage that is actually an old variety from Japan popular for its beautiful crepe textured and light green leaves. It grows to a robust 12″ in diameter.
WINDROSE ALSO HAS UNIQUE SQUASH VARIETIES AS WELL, INCLUDING THE SWEET AND DELUXE MOROCCAN FAIRY SQUASH!!
MORE WINDROSE: THE UNIQUE AND NATIVE TO NORTH AMERICA ALREADY SHELLED TEPARY BEAN:
RANCHO DEL SOL IS BRINGING US THE CITRUS OF THE GODS: KISHU TANGERINES – SWEET, PETIT AND SEEDLESS!!
NEXT UP: 15 PRIZED TREES ON RANCHO DEL SOL’S ORCHARD GROW THIS SPECIAL CITRON – BUDDHA’S HAND!!! EXOTIC, YET LOCAL!! NOW AVAILABLE!
GARCIA ORGANICS – GUAVA, MEYER LEMONS AND POMELOS!! AND SATSUMA MANDARINS ARE BACK!!
POLITO FARMS HAS ORO BLANCO GRAPEFRUIT AND CLEMENTINE MANDARINS!!
COLEMAN FARMS – TOKYO LONG JAPANESE ONIONS ARE GORGEOUS AND A GREAT WINTER FRESH ONION! PEACOCK KALE, PORTUGESE KALE AND SCOTS KALE, FRENCH SORREL, CARDONES, FRISEE, RED FRILL MUSTARD IN BUNCHES, SPIGARELLO AND PERSIAN WATERCRESS
MCGRATH FARMS HAS THE BABY RED AND WHITE SCALLIONS! THEY ALSO HAVE BUTTERNUT SQUASH,RAPINI and MY PERSONAL FAVORITE: PEA TENDRILS!!
COASTAL ORGANICS HAS RED GEM LETTUCE BY THE BOX AND IT IS STUNNING, SUCCULENT AND CRUNCHY
JAIME FARMS HAS THEIR BABY CARROTS BACK IN 4 COLORS AND THEY ARE CUTE!!! ALSO, BABY GOLD TURNIPS AND RED KURI SQUASH!!
BEYLIK HAS THE HARDY AND RELIABLE JAPANESE TOMATOES AND PERSIAN CUCUMBERS
No more Figs, Shelling Beans, Chocolate, Gosho, Tamopan, Hyakume or Maru Persimmons!!!!! No more Coleman Farms Dragon fruit, Passion Fruit or Basil. Currently only large artichokes are available.
Baby Broccoli!! – Weiser Farms
Red Frill Mustard – McGrath Farms: is back!
Sweet Dumpling Squash – Windrose Farms: A Native American ivory colored squash with dark green stripes averaging 1/2 pound in size. The flesh is golden orange, tender and incredibly sweet!
Watermelon Radishes – McGrath Farms
Brocolli Spigarello – Coleman Farms
Red Okami Spinach – McGrath Farms
Green Kabocha Squash – McGrath Family Farms and Rutiz Farms: Sweet and rich tasting. No doubt, one of the best winter squash varieties at the market!
Mixed Heirloom Potatoes – Weiser Family Farms: Fingerling sized heirloom variety of six different potatoes, including french fingerlings, Russian bananas, King Edwards, All blues, Ruby crescents and red thumbs.
Persian Watercress – Coleman Farms – A.K.A. “Shahi” the peppery frilly leaf that has a similar shape to wild arugula, yet it is more fragile and “cressier” in flavor.
Coastal Organics Mixed Baby lettuces!!!
Red Bok Choy from Coleman Farms! – Also known as Red Violet Tatsoi Hybrid, this is a unique bok choy vartiety The shiny leaves range in color from red-violet to dark purple, and they hold their color well even in the summer heat, although this variety also tolerates colder temperatures. Lightly textured, the spoon-shaped leaves have a mild mustard flavor.
Duck Eggs – from Ramona Duck Farms!! Larger in size than chicken eggs, the whites of duck eggs tend to be a bit more thick and opaque and the yolks are a striking yellow. As the bird is naturally wilder, duck eggs typically have a stronger flavor compared to that of a chicken egg.
Walnuts – grown in the Santa Rita Hills at Rancho La Viña; these are addictive!!!
Black garlic is cultivated and harvested right here in California and it is waiting to allure you…
Japanese Tomatoes – Beylik Farms: I love this meaty& hefty number. Thanks to being grown hydroponically in Southern California, it is available year-round!! Nicknamed “Tough Boy” for its temperature resilient texture and succulence!
Baby Calabrese Broccoli – Rutiz Farms
Cherokee Heirloom Tomatoes- from Tutti Frutti Farms
Pirella Lettuce from Coleman Farms: a rich and buttery lettuce with a slight mineral finish as it is a limestone lettuce variety that was originally developed in Kentucky, hence its other name, Kentucky Limestone.
Delicata Squash – Rutiz, Windrose and McGrath Farms
Beck Grove – Fallbrook, CA:
Beck Grove, Fallbrook is home to a 100% certified biodynamic and organic orchard/farm. Biodynamic farming stimulates and supports soil fertility through the use of farm-produced manures and composts. Beck Grove has a singular cow that meets all of their manure needs. I was there and the scent was in the air. Their orchard was converted from an abandoned avocado farm to the 33 acre orchard where over 15 different fruit crops, most of which are unique to the produce landscape, yet perfect for a chef’s palate. There grove spirals east to west and north to south with rows upon rows of fuyu persimmons, pomegranetes, kumquats, kaffir limes, blood oranges, satsuma tangerines, meyer lemons, bearrs limes, passion fruit and minneolas. As with many growers, due to water restrictions the orchard faces serious consequential decisions of having to let some of the land go wild as they will not be afforded the water resources to feed all of their crops.
kaffir limes – indulgent, fragrant, sexy, sweet, zesty are just a few words that come to mind when thinking about this exotic citrus that is finally finding its way to a more “global” stage.
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
Cavalo Nero Kale
Also being harvested at Coastal: sweet basil (sold by the pound), red and green chard
HUGE Collard greens
and their sweet mixed small lettuces (by the case)
Coleman Family Farm – Carpinteria, CA
Pirella Lettuce – My new favorite! A mild-flavored limestone variety originally developed in Kentucky to withstand the heat!
Deer’s Tongue Lettuce – Triangular shaped leaves give this loose-leaf lettuce its distinct look and name. The leaves are tender, mild, succulent and have a melt-in-your-mouth flavor.
Red Butter (Piret) Lettuce – you won’t find this anywhere else! Award-winning for its taste and texture, Pirat is a butterhead variety that has tender and sweet red-tinged leaves with a snappy succulent blanched heart.
Freckles Lettuce – Freckles! Sweet leaves, crispy inside. Perfect lettuce for salads mixes.
Lollo Rossa Lettuce – A red leaf lettuce variety, the distinct red color increases and becomes more intense in this remarkable lettuce when confronted with severe cold or heat.
Frisee – An early Italian variety Endive known for its decadent sized head and self-blanching heart. Its leaves are long and mid-toned green with a white fleshy ribs. Wonderful sweet and mellow flavor.
Treviso – Gorgeous, green and red and a hearty crunchy leaf. Has a tendency toward bitterness. Soak the greens to remove unwanted astringencies.
Red Bok Choy! – Also known as Red Violet Tatsoi Hybrid, this is a unique bok choy vartiety The shiny leaves range in color from red-violet to dark purple, and they hold their color well even in the summer heat, although this variety also tolerates colder temperatures. Lightly textured, the spoon-shaped leaves have a mild mustard flavor.
Tokyo Negi Japanese Onions – Long and sleek with tubular tops and offering just a essence of an onion bite, this Japanese staple is sweet in a savory way.
Red Frill Mustard –
Fallbrook Mushroom Farm – Fallbrook, CA:
A field trip to Fallbrook Mushroom Farm is an educated journey into a virtual Chinese forest where mushrooms where dominate the landscape. Long and narrow, screened barns are home to thousands upon thousands of oyster “spawns” and shitake logs. The mushrooms are cultivated on agro-waste (which is essentially recycled agricultural food sources) in spawns filled with rice, grains, cotton, straw, wheat, millet and maize that serve as the mushrooms’ food and protein source. The spawned bags (see picture above) are stored in low-lit raised shelving as they begin colonizing. They are watered from a sprinkling system above daily to retain the appropriate levels of moisture for the mushrooms to grow prolifically. Harvests occur approximately every 60 days and are picked before the mushrooms begin to spore. The most effective way to harvest the mushrooms is to remove the entire colony from the spawn’s stem so that a new crop can grow all at once. One spawn bag can cultivate about 3-5 harvests.
Baby Oyster Mushrooms – These mushrooms are harvested at a younger age than their sand dolllar counterparts. They have a mild and delicately earthy flavor. The stems, although still a little chewy are far more edible than a matured oyster mushroom stem. They have more adaptable cooking applications at their younger age.
Also being harvested are peewee shitakes – 100% edible!!! Tiny, thin and tender stalks and a meaty cap make for an amazing mushroom experience! The mushrooms are harvested the SAME day they arrive in your kitchen. And their local!!!
The shiitakes are farm raised and harvested on protein filled cedar logs. The logs can produce over 4 pounds of mushrooms over their lifetime. They are also 100% recyclable. Once the logs are exhausted they can be used for composting or as a natural fertilizer.
What is unique about Fallbrook Mushroom Farms besides the information that I shared with you? Well, considering that 85% of the world’s oyster mushroom production comes from China and the fact that the oyster mushroom is the third largest cultivated mushroom, having an oyster mushroom farm in our own back yard is simply a privilege. Fallbrook Mushroom Farm is a pristinely run organic family farm. They harvest their mushrooms the same day we have them delivered and they are harvesting the mushrooms smaller so that they are more tender and the mushrooms themselves are higher yielding. The mushroom caps range in sizes from button to half-dollar versus SAND dollar, making them the only oyster mushrooms known to be picked at that size. You can do so much more with these mushrooms than adding them to “Hot Pot”. They are the newest addition to the farmers market program and they will be available by the pound or by the five pound flat.
Garcia Organic Farm – Fallbrook, CA
Mexican Cream Guava – Offering aromas of pineapple and passion fruit, these small to medium-small, roundish fruits have a pale yellow skin that is often just slightly blushed with red. Their flesh is memorably creamy white, thick and decadently sweet – excellent for dessert. They have a small seed cavity that holds a handful of soft seeds.
Meyer Lemons –
Kishu Mandarins –
Gloria Tamai Farms, Oxnard, CA
Heirloom Cherry Tomato Mix
Wild Arugula (bunches)
Jaime Farm – Ontario, CA
Mixed Baby Bunch Carrots – beautiful yellow, orange, red, and purple haze carrots with tops
Baby Gold Turnips –
Rainbow Chard – striking colors, hearty leaves.
Red Kuri Squash – Bright red-orange, this outstanding hybrid squash has a brtight orange skin with light green highlights. Red Kuri squash produces a meaty flesh. Weighing four to seven pounds, its rich flesh offers a delicious sweet nutty flavor that is reminiscent to that of chestnuts.
J.J.’s Lone Daughter Ranch
Bacon Avocados – This avocado is a mid-winter green variety. It is a good quality medium-sized fruit averaging 10-12 ounces. The Bacon has a sheen green easy peeling skin with a flavorful, smooth and creamy flesh.
Hachiya Persimmons – Hachiya persimmons, when fully ripe are a beautiful deep orange. They are candy sweet and should feel like a water balloon when ripe. The skins are thin, similar to a tomato. The flesh is even darker and more striking then the skin. It is soft and luxurious. The flavor is sweet and possesses those baking spice nuances.
Walnuts – grown in the Santa Rita Hills at Rancho La Viña; these are addictive!!!
Life’s A Choke – Lompoc, CA
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!!
McGrath Family Farm – Camarillo, CA
Pea Tendrils –
Rainbow Chard –
Beets: Chioggia (Candy Stripe), Forono, Gold, Red & White – Forono Beet produces smooth, cylindrical shape beets–for perfectly round slices every time.
Rapini Spigariello and Sessantina Grossa
Purple and White Turnips
Red Okami Spinach (3 lb. Box) – Delicate lovely, baby red spinach produces rich green spear-shaped leaves with tender contrasting red edible stems and offer a mild spinach flavor.
Mixed “Saute” Greens (3 lb. box) – A gorgeous mix of flavorfull and spicy baby greens suitable for salads and light sautéeing. In the mix: mustard greens, mustard frill, dandelion greens, arugula and tatsoi.
Wild Arugula (3 lb. box)
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
Clementine Tangerines –
Pudwill Farm – Nipomo, CA
Golden Raspberries – If I were allowed to use the acronym, OMG, I would use it right here.
Raspberry Mix, Red Raspberries
RANCHO DEL SOL – Jamul, CA
Kishu Mandarins – Seedless and very easy to peel, golf ball size Kishu mandarins (tangerines) offer a sweet and tangy flavor. Measuring typically about two inches in diameter, the skin is exceptionally loose. The flesh is a beautiful bright orange and super juciy.
Italian Sorrento Lemons
Buddha’s Hand Citron –
Cara Cara Oranges!
RAMONA DUCK FARM
Duck Eggs – Larger in size than chicken eggs, the whites of duck eggs tend to be a bit thicker and the yolks are a striking yellow. Duck eggs typically have a stronger flavor compared to that of a chicken egg.
Rutiz Farm – Arroyo Grande, CA
Persian Watercress– a unique variety, with a wonderfully spicy-sweet kick
Baby Green Romanesco –
Baby Calabrese Broccoli – available sporadically until late fall..
Savoy Spinach – cut in small clusters of 3-4 leaves – beautiful!!
Sugar Snap Peas –
Schaner Farm, Valley Center, CA
Candy and Red Beets
Heirloom Cherokee Tomatoes
Marvel Striped Tomatoes
Tutti Frutti aslo has red and pink beets, late-season strawberries and other miscellaneous herbs and root vegetables.
Weiser Family Farm – Bakersfield, CA
Baby Broccoli –
Mixed Heirloom Potatoes – Fingerling sized heirloom variety of six different potatoes, including french fingerlings, Russian bananas, King Edwards, All blues, Ruby crescents and red thumbs.
Red Thumb Potatoes – Red skinned on the outside, and pretty in pink on the inside
Russian Banana Fingerlings – oh so creamy..
French Heirloom Fingerlings – Red-skinned, medium sized with creamy white-flesh, has a very silky texture ( I love these!!)
La Ratte Fingerlings – Nutty flavors, stand out fingerling, one of the best potatoes, ever!!
Chiogga, Gold and Bull’s Blood Beets by the bunch
Windrose Farm – Paso Robles, CA
Braising Mix Greens -aka field greens, the mix varies but the greens are a hearty blend of baby sweet chards, kales, mustard greens and tatsoi
Oriental Mixed Greens -a perfect combination of loose leaf red and green frill mustard and mizuna
Rustic Arugula – loose leaf, frisee style and perfectly peppered!
Moroccan Fairy Squash – Fairy squash is a hardy, disease resistant and prolific beauty that stuns in flavor as well. Each oval squash boasts a meaty 2 lb weight average and a brilliant honey-sweet orange flesh. The squash has a variegated skin when young and loses its stripes with maturity when it really gains its sweetness.
Sweet Dumpling Squash – A Native American ivory colored squash with dark green stripes averaging 1/2 pound in size. The flesh is golden orange, tender and incredibly sweet!
White Tepary Shelling Bean – These miniature beans native to North America vary in shape from oval to round and nearly flat. Often their white flesh will be faintly dotted with specks of red and brown. They are rich, creamy and nutty in flavor.
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!
Miners Lettuce – It’s hydroponic!!! It’s an heirloom European seed. It’s perfect!