I've always let my belly lead the way through the farmers' market—it's usually a good guide—but these days the concept is a bit more literal. Six months pregnant with my first baby, it looks like I'm trying to smuggle one of Underwood Family Farms organic watermelons under my shirt.
My belly pokes its way through the crowds to pyramids of artfully stacked corn that would make ancient Egyptians proud, to baskets of crisp blushing nectarines and tables strewn with gem-toned heirloom tomatoes. And I'm eating everything I find. Or at least most of it, especially after listening to this story on NPR last week about babies' palates being influenced by mom's diet while they're in utero.
This week at the Hollywood Farmers' Market there were plenty of new aromas and flavors to introduce to my future son.
Wild Chanterelles from Clearwater Farms, plus cultivated Maitake Beecher, King Oyster and Giant Trumpet mushrooms cultivated by Geanne and Jim Davis from San Diego.
K&K Ranch from Orisi had some of the most balanced flame grapes I've ever tasted, plus incredibly sweet Soy Mitsu peaches. I couldn't resist bringing home fresh Lima Beans from McGrath Family Farms, hoping to erase my taste memory of the starchy, frozen beans in boiled succotash growing up. (And just in case I still don't like them, I grabbed a pound of Tongue of Fire beans for a summery cassoulet.)
I'm looking forward to making some fresh tortellini later this week to toss with a pesto made from Lily Balthezar's watercress and arugula. And I'm still trying to clean the pink stains from my fingers from the tangy Persian Mulberries (pictured above) from Mud Creek Ranch. This rare berry is super sought after this time of year. I was incredibly grateful that my inability to sleep late these days got me to the market in time to grab a pint.
Hollywood Farmers' Market
Selma Ave between Ivar and Hollywood Blvd. (map) Sundays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., open year round rain or shine
Peppers Figs Shelling Beans Peaches Plums Nectarines Purslane Wild Chanterelles Pluots Melons Corn
About the Author: Food and wine writer Leah Greenstein is based in Los Angeles and she is a convert to the cult of invert sugar.