Farmers Market Update

I had thought about doing a post on how Senator Feinstein, after many years of vigorously endorsing all that national security apparatus spying on her constituents, was consumed with outrage when she discovered that she, or at least her staff, was also being spied on.  But then i realized that this has been all over the national news for the past week and that while her hypocrisy speaks with adequate eloquence for itself, she is now our last best hope for reining in our nascent police state.  That is, unless she still thinks the rest of us should be continuously monitored.  If that’s the case, it’s too late for me, but the rest of you should go underground now.  Well, some of you, if you get my drift.  The rest … well, i cling to the hope that we can be in adjacent cages and console each other between interrogations.

So instead of all that boring political stuff, i’ll do another culinary column, this one celebrating my favorite farmers’ market, the Castro Farmers’ Market, which opened its 2014 season last Wednesday.  It was a festive occasion, and not just because the weather was shirt-sleevy gorgeous owing to a massive solar spill that has lasted all day long every day of the past week.

See, the vendors and their customers hadn’t seen each other since mid-December, so there was pent-up need, and much socializing occurred along with the buying and selling.

First stop, Shelly’s Eggs.  Shelly’s hens are pastured and run around loose all day long eating bugs and seeds.  Their eggs are also very fresh, and you can taste the difference.  Besides that, Shelly’s nice, laughs at my jokes, likes my jams and jellies, and insists on giving me discounts.   I mean, i’m trying to be a good customer and a contributor to her profitability, but i can eat only so many eggs.  If people were not so damn hard to photograph, i’d include a pic of her, but stay tuned.

Next, Serendipity Farms, where i picked up the most perfect wild arugula i’ve ever seen. It was only after i’d served it to my guests on Friday night that i discovered that we have a perfectly fine English name for it – “wall rocket”.  Sure do wish i’d known to call it that when i was buying it from the vendor, who has finally decided that i’m harmless and is now nice.  Guess who gets a jar of jam next time.

Serendipity Farms

The guy in the blue tent is looking at the wall rocket, but i suspect he bought potatoes instead.

Then to Nyia Yi Farms, where i picked up some perfect little sub-golf-ball-size Yukon Golds, plus a bunch of red radishes, and across the aisle to Home Maid for some of their breathtaking olive-fig-balsamic vinegar tapenade.  They also have good ravioli, but i’m so partial to that olive-fig stuff that the vendor waves it at me when he sees me coming.  Yep, he knows his customers, and as you can see, he knows his products, too.

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Next stop, back across the aisle to Rodin Farms, where Marie, who is right up there with Shelly on my favorite vendor list, was proudly offering her new product, almond butter, which is quite tasty although i’m holding my breath in anticipation of her divine nectarines in another month or so.

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Next, to my walnut guy at Alpine Blue Farms, who in the summer sells blueberries and blackberries and in the fall sells baby kiwi fruit the size of grapes and so young they haven’t grown their fur yet and can be eaten whole.  Yum.

Then to Prather Ranch for a package of their bratwurst, one of the very best in the city and sold by knowledgeable and downright nice vendors.

I’ll cover other vendors at this market in a later post, but for now i’ll close by mentioning that i was buying some of that stuff for the dinner i did on Friday night for visiting Canadians, not exactly a traditional meal, but i like new combinations.

To start, a salad of wall rocket and thinly sliced red radish dressed in a light vinaigrette.  And then a four pound chunk of ahi tuna that i plunged into a pot of boiling court bouillon for two minutes, pulled out, and plattered so that folks could cut off the size slice they wanted.  Only two minutes, you ask?  Yep.  That way the outside quarter inch is nicely cooked and any pathogens have been killed, while the inside is dead raw and still cold in the center.  The best of both worlds, cooked and raw at the same time, and besides, the squeamish can make sure they get an outside slice, leaving the good stuff for the rest of us.

For accompaniments:  first, a childhood favorite, new potatoes (i used the little Yukons) in a thick cream sauce.  Then braised fresh green garlic and corn bread.

I tire easily now, and i was too tired Thursday night to make a dessert, so i cheated and bought a pie from Mission Beach Cafe.  Good thing i love that place because i felt kinda jacked around Friday afternoon when they wouldn’t sell me a chocolate cream pie because they had only one owing to it being π day (3/14) and there having been a run.  And then i felt even more jacked around when i was serving the pie and discovered that they hadn’t packaged the pie i agreed on as a substitute.  But hey, i didn’t even open the box when i picked it up, so i can’t complain … well, any more.

And i’m thinking that maybe i ought to start doing the food posts using my new kitchen persona – “Sue Vead”.

 

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