Market Scene: December at the San Rafael Farmers' Market in California


[Photographs: Jennifer Maiser]

The Thursday San Rafael Farmers' Market in Marin County is one of my favorite markets. I'm almost loathe to talk about it because I love how uncrowded and unhurried it is. With such a perfect mix of vendors, I can pick up nearly every item I need for the week.

A recent visit began with tacos from The Taco Guys, a roving taco truck that uses seasonal ingredients. I'd tasted their tacos at the Eat Real Festival this summer, and was happy to taste a taco with pork and pumpkin, and another with chorizo and cheese—the combo made for a delicious breakfast.

DeSantis Farm, a Central Valley citrus grower, is one of my favorite vendors at the market. Their booth this week offered at least 20 varieties of citrus including pomelo, sweet lime, Rangpur lime, Lisbon lemons, Meyer lemons, tangerines on the stem, several types of grapefruit, and kumquats.


After attending a panel discussion about mushrooms (foraging, cultivating, cooking) last week, they were top of mind. I bought some from Solano Mushroom Company and made them into a simple Japanese-style pasta dish by marinating them for about 30 minutes in soy sauce, sesame oil, and a splash of rice vinegar, then sauteeing them over high heat. Then came the chopped bacon, spaghetti, a bit more soy sauce and some parmesan cheese.


Other market treats this time of year include crisp radishes and root vegetables. Star Route Farms was selling sunchokes—the sweet, nutty tubers that can be eaten raw or cooked.

Despite our grand winter abundance, this is the time of year when I reach into the pantry for a bit of variety. This week, I began to eat my summer tomatoes, brandied cherries, and pickled okra.


Seasonal Produce Guide

In Season Right this Minute

Dungeness crab
Root vegetables
Brussels sprouts

Coming Soon

Green garlic
Mandarin oranges

It's Time To Put Up

Pickled brussels sprouts and carrots and beets
Walnuts (purchase and freeze for the year)
Leek confit
Mushroom relish

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.

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