FARMERS MARKET REPORT: WEEK OF MAY 23, 2010
Murray Family Farms and Barbagaleta are harvesting Brooks Cherries this week, sweet and simply delicious. Don’t hesitate, for the season is brief!
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SPRING CROPS:
Artichokes, Arugula, Avocados, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cardones, Carrots, Cherries, Citrus: Buddha’s Hand, Grapefruit, Meyer Lemons, Mandarins, Kumquats, Blood Oranges, Cara Cara Oranges, Pomelos, Tangelos, Eggs, Fava Beans, Fennel, Fiddlehead Ferns, Green Garlic, Herbs: Dill, Leeks, Chives, Parsley, Mint, Tarragon; Lettuce, Mushrooms: Chanterelles, Hedgehog, Morel, Porcini; Nettles, Parsnips, Passion Fruits, Pea Tendrils, English Peas, New Potatoes, Treviso, Radicchio, Radishes, Ramps, Rapini, Snap Peas, Sorrel, Strawberries, Watercress
“The real deal is this: these are our products. You know me. I’ll shake your hand. I’ll give you a hug and a smile and my ear. You know our integrity. We aren’t hiding anything. You can talk to us anytime. You can visit the farm. You know our values. Our dreams. Our goals. You can call me out, right or wrong, and I’ll take it and try to make it better. I’m not perfect, but I’m doing my best. I like you. I want to help you. I think what you are doing is cool. Maybe you think what we are doing is cool. Let’s do something cool together and show it to some other cool people…” Lucila De Alejandro (co-owner of Suzie’s Farm) on building relationships with chefs and the culinary community
Local, organic, sustainable real people growing really good real food just out our backdoor (11 miles south of downtown, just west of I-5). Owners and operators, Robin Taylor and Lucila De Alejandro are passionate risk-taking farmers on a mission to provide an abundance of beautiful produce in harmony with the land and Mother Nature. They seek out unique varieties of well, just about everything. Currently they have 13,000 tomato plants in the ground, several varieties of shelling beans, radishes, spinach, sweet and hot peppers, summer squash varieties, peas, lettuces, red okra and so much more! The current harvest includes:
Summer Squash Mix:
Yellow Wax Beans
Italian Rustic Arugula
Pungent, lively, earthyt and peppery, Rustic Arugula is a thinner, wilder arugula featuring fine, deeply-indented dark green leaves which resist bolting in heat. You can also get arugula flowers right now too!
Camarosa Strawberries Firm wedge-shaped fruit that has deep red color, intense vibrant flavor with a balance of acid and sweetness.
An Italian heirloom variety that is pink on the outside with candy stripes circulating throughout the inside. The beet’s flavor is sweet and earthy.
Gold Beets A beautiful pale orange exterior encases a golden-orange, juicy-crisp flesh. Its smooth skinned (up to 4″) globes are topped with light green leaves.
Fennel You think all fennel tastes the same? This variety of fennel has a milder licorice flavor than most. When raw it has a crispy crunch and once cooked it offers a mild, sweet (almost caramel-like) smooth taste.
Black Radishes! A hardy Spanish variety with an off-black thin skin and a crisp peppery transclucent white flesh.
Red Orach Spinach
Macho Squash Blossoms These monster blossoms come from the heirloom Romanesco Summer Squash variety; they have hearty stems which allows them a greater shelf-life than most varieties.
Semi-Savoyed (Bloomsdale) Spinach: This is perhaps the sweetest, mildest Bloomsdale spinach I have ever tasted!
Red Frill Mustard:
Rainbow Swiss Chard:
Mixed Colored Radishes:
Heirloom Romanesco Zucchini:
Watermelon Radishes: A radish with a wow effect: white round roots up to 4″ in diamerter with pale green highlighted skin reveal an incredible rose red variegated interior. Sweet and mild radish flavor.
CARLSBAD AQUAFARM: CARLSBAD, CA
Owner and diver, John Davis is passionate about sustainable aquaculture: He believes that every oyster and mussel raised in his 6 acre aquafarm is one less that will be taken from the ocean. The aquafarm, located in the highly protected Agua Hedionda Lagoon offshore is a green operation that returns water back to the ocean cleaner than when it comes in. Carlsbad Aquafarm grows and harvests one oyster in two phases, young and mature: the young oyster is known as “Luna” and the mature: “Blonde”. Both are delicate and delicious. The Blonde offering a little more mineral and salt in finish. Their shells are cupped and grow deeper with age, which provides a great vessel for the oysters’ liquor.
MOUNTAIN MEADOW MUSHROOMS: ESCONDIDO, CA
Blazei Mushrooms!!!! now available dried too!
Blazei Mushrooms are a unique and elegant variety that are sought out as much for their medicinal properties as they are for their sweet marzipanesque flavor and essence.
The Blazei’s origins can be traced back to eastern North America circa the late 19th century. It disappeared from the commercial marketplace in the early 20th century. Data accounts for its cultivation again in the early 1980’s in Brazil, Japan, Hawaii, Taiwan and elsewhere.
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. 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.
Kara Kara tangerines
Garcia Organic Farm – Fallbrook, CA
Fuerte Avocados – This former market gold standard was displaced by the Hass avocado because of its thicker skin and ability to handle being shipped to distant marketplaces.
Meyer Lemons –
Cocktail Grapefruit –
Developed in the 1950’s, the Cocktail Grapefruit is actually a hybrid of Siamese Sweet pommelo and Frua mandarin. As it was never officially allowed for release, the hybrid escaped from the University of California Riverside.
Star Ruby Grapefruit Prized for its beautiful deep red color and exceptional flavor, the nearly smooth skin of the Star Ruby grapefruit has a characteristic dark pink pretty blush. Containing few seeds, inside is an intensely deep rich red flesh that delivers a delicious sweet-tart flavor. The redder the flesh, the sweeter the taste.
Fallbrook Mushroom Farm – Fallbrook, CA:
Currently Mushroom harvesting is on hiatus 🙁
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.
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”. *available by the pound or by the five pound flat.
Polito Family Farm – Valley Center, CA
Oro Blanco Grapefuit – golden-flesh, sweet and juicy
Tom’s Terrific Tangerines
Primavera Tanerines – Owner, Bob Polito’s absolute favorite: easy to peel, sweet and juicy and makes great segments, too!
Schaner Farm, Valley Center, CA
Sage Mountain Farms: Temecula, CA
Italian Green Garlic
Spring Elephant Garlic
French Breakfast Radises
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!
Sweet Basil – hydroponic!!!!
Coastal Organics – Oxnard, CA
Coleman Family Farm – Carpinteria, CA
Pirella Lettuce – 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.
Vulcan Lettuce! A cut and come again variety – It has crisp, ruffled, mild flavored, candy apple red colored leaves that give way to a pale green background.
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.
Red Frill Mustard –
Persian Watercress – 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.
Stinging Nettles –
Pea Tendrils –
Chrysanthemum – This Asian “pot herb” is the edible leaves of the garland chrysanthemum. The deeply lobed green leaves are a bit bitter in flavor but give off the floral aromas of its flower.
Gloria Tamai Farms, Oxnard, CA
Wild Arugula (bunches)
Plus!!: Dill, Mint, Italian Parsley, Beets, Broccoli, Cauliflower
Jaime Farm – Ontario, CA
Mixed Baby Bunch Carrots – beautiful yellow, orange, red, and purple haze carrots with tops
Rainbow Chard – striking colors, hearty leaves.
Black Cherry Tomatoes
J.J.’s Lone Daughter Ranch
Cara Cara oranges
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!!
Baby Anzio Artichokes
Baby Green Artichokes
Baby Green Zucchini
Asparagus: Pencil to Jumbo
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)
Pudwill Farm – Nipomo, CA
RANCHO DEL SOL – Jamul, CA
Rutiz Farm – Arroyo Grande, CA
Persian Watercress– a unique variety, with a wonderfully spicy-sweet kick
Baby Calabrese Broccoli – available sporadically until late fall..
Savoy Spinach – cut in small clusters of 3-4 leaves – beautiful!!
Sugar Snap Peas –
French Breakfast Radishes!
Tutti Frutti (Italian for All Fruit) – Santa Barbara County and Carpinteria
Ruby Crescent Fingerlings – Considered one of the best tasting fingerlings, the Ruby Crescent is Classic European fingerling. It has a slender shape, blush-colored smooth skin with a moist yellow flesh.
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.
Russian Banana Fingerlings – oh so creamy..
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
Rustic Arugula – loose leaf, frisee style and perfectly peppered!
Giant Nobel Spinach
Yasutomi Farm – Pico Rivera, CA
Baby Bok Choy – Baby bok choy’s attractive three to four inch long green leaves with characteristic succulent white stems offer a tender texture and mild, sweeter flavor.
Baby Celery – Fresh, sweet, herbaceous with leaves about the size of cilantro or parsley, baby celery delivers an intense celery flavor that is much stronger than mature celery.
Green Onion Chives – comin soon! mild, sometimes sweet green onion and chive hydroponic hybrid. great shelf-life too!
Miners Lettuce – It’s hydroponic!!! It’s an heirloom European seed. Unlike wild Miners Lettuce, this cultivated variety has a milder sweeter mache-like flavor than its more bitter counterpart. Its stems are thin, crunchy and equally edible as the tender leaves.