It's the time of year when it's fun to take visitors to the market. Friends who don't typically shop at farmers' markets will be overwhelmed by the amount of produce that we have available locally and in season, and will be sure to go home with a bag full of summertime delights. The market is bursting at the seams with color and flavor and scents, and it's an exercise in restraint to decide where to spend my budget.
My strategy during this time of abundance is typically to find out what products are going to be around for a little while, and then to prioritize from there. Okra have just begun to show up in the market and as much as I love them, I decided that I can probably wait a couple of weeks to have them due to their season. I decided the same for eggplant—it will be around for a while, so I passed it up for other produce this week.
Beans of all sorts have made their appearance at the market. Catalan Family Farm is selling the gorgeous beans of all colors that you see in the photo above, and Dirty Girl Produce has brought cranberry beans for shelling and romano beans for braising.
I picked up poblano peppers this week to make rajas: a chile sauté with onion and cheese that's great in tacos and quesadillas. I like to also add potatoes to my rajas to make a complete vegetarian filling. I bought the poblano peppers above from Knoll Farm—a local farm that is known for bringing fabulous produce to market. Rick Knoll was featured in an NPR segment this week talking about his amazing figs (which will be at market in the next couple of weeks). It's an interview worth listening to just to hear Rick talk about how sexy a fig is—an opinion I happen to share.
A fun product available at the market this week is fresh garbanzo beans. The beans pictured above are from Catalan farm, and have already been destemmed and deleaved. If you've ever purchased large stems of garbanzo beans, you'll appreciate the work that went into the ones from this farm—it's a long, arduous process to deal with them. At this point, the beans can be steamed in pod and popped out like edamame. The flavor is milder than dried garbanzo beans, and deliciously delicate.
The Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market now has a Thursday market that is causing quite a stir among the food community. Vendors of all sorts come together to create sustainable, prepared, "street food" from roast beef sandwiches to peanut butter bacon brownies to Korean barbecue tacos. It's a fun time, and is sure to gain in popularity as the summer goes on.
Seasonal Produce Guide
In Season Right this Minute
- Beans of all sorts
- Rose geranium (makes an awesome syrup for drinks)
- Summer squash
- Stone fruit in abundance
- Tomatoes in abundance
It's Time To Put Up
- Pickles: cucumbers, zucchini, string beans
- Frozen grapes
- Roasted peppers in oil
- Frozen berries
About the author: Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. She is the founder and editor of the Eat Local Challenge website and writes at Life Begins at 30, her personal weblog.