There are so many reasons that I feel lucky to live in the Bay Area. This week, one of those reasons was that we still have well over a month to buy fresh, local tomatoes. I haven't taken full advantage of tomato season yet but will be eating them as much as possible until they go out of season.
Tomato competition is stiff at the market, and farmers who make the most profit have unusual types, the most flavorful types, or have figured out how to eke out a couple extra weeks on the beginning or end of their season. This week I bought a variety of tomatoes: dark Cherokee purples, teeny Sungold tomatoes, Juliet tomatoes that you can eat out of hand, and dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes.
Grapes are in season again, and I picked up a handful of seedless flame grapes from Johann at Hidden Star Orchards. He grows the only table grapes in San Joaquin County and the grapes he brings to market are sweet and flavorful. While at the booth, I also tried his new fruit leather-type snacks which would be great for kids, or for hiking or whenever you'd like a delicious dried-fruit treat.
One of the highlights of attending the Tuesday farmers' market is Annabelle Lenderink's La Tercera Farm booth. Annabelle specializes in unusual and heirloom varieties of vegetables. Walking up to her booth, I always find something new. This time, Annabelle had the beautiful Dragon Tongue beans, which can be eaten raw or briefly cooked in their entirety; shelling is not required.
If you'd like a bite while at the market, Hapa Ramen is a great bet for ramen, made fresh from local ingredients. Today, I chose the "big daddy" ramen, which included slow-cooked pork, fried chicken and a poached egg on top of ramen noodles. It was the perfect meal in a bowl.
Hapa Ramen is also selling charcuterie kits for $30 which vary from week to week. They were born of the extra pig parts that come from buying whole pigs. I purchased one a couple weeks ago; it included a remarkable pate, along with bacon, chutney, head cheese, and other delectables that made for an easy charcuterie plate for a dinner party.
In Season Right this Minute
Apples in abundance
It's Time To Put Up
Any last minute stone fruit jams
Frozen roasted peppers
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.