Spring Farmers Market Highlights

| May 12, 2009 | 4 Comments
  • 4 Comments

cherries

It’s an exciting time around the farmers market these days. I hadn’t been to the market for about two weeks, and was amazed at how much the market changed in a short amount of time. There is a promise of summer fruit in the air, and the spring vegetables are in abundance. Here are some of the things I am looking forward to this month:

CHERRIES

Cherries are making their way to the market, and should be available for approximately a month. We usually see the Brooks variety cherry first which is a crisp, tart cherry. That will be followed by Bing cherries, Rainier and sour cherries among other varieties. I am partial to Bing cherries from Lagier Ranch — Mr. Lagier brings them to the market when they’re perfectly ripe and delicious. This year, I will be keeping an eye out for sour cherries, as they make for a delicious brandied fruit which can then be used throughout the year for cocktails and desserts.

POTATOES

A while back, I told you about new potatoes — the beginning of the season potatoes that are spectacular in flavor and freshness. I’m happy to report that they are back and I spotted them at the Berkeley Farmers Market last week at the Full Belly Farm booth. They are expected at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in the next month or so.

PEAS

Denise told you about making a pea soup this week, and I am looking forward to trying out that recipe. The fact of the matter is that my peas rarely make it past the shelling stage as I usually eat them raw or slightly steamed. But if you have the willpower, now is an excellent time to shell and freeze peas. My favorite place to purchase them is the Swanton Berry Farm booth that is in many local farmers markets.

STRAWBERRIES

Northern California is very lucky: our strawberries have an extremely long fruit season, and we will have them around for a while. Still, this is the perfect time to buy strawberries and freeze them if you can. If you have room, I suggest hulling the berries and freezing on a large cookie tray before storing in a freezer bag. I buy mine from Lucero Farm and from Yerena Farm.

ALMOND BUTTER

This is not really a seasonal product, but I just wanted to give a shout-out for Greg Massa’s excellent Almond Butter. You may know Massa Organics farm for selling really delicious brown rice at many Bay Area markets. If you check his booth carefully, you will notice an almond butter that he has been producing for a few months. I am addicted to this almond butter, and highly recommend trying it. It’s pricey, but if you eat almond butter as slowly as I do, you’ll only be making the investment every few months.

What are you looking forward to at the market this month?

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Category: farmers and farms, farmers markets, sustainability, environment, climate change

About the Author ()

"My passion for food began young." I am the editor of the influential website www.EatLocalChallenge.com which encourages readers to support local farmers and producers. I began my personal website, Life Begins at 30, in 2003. I have been published in Edible San Francisco and Fine Cooking, write regularly for Bay Area Bites, Serious Eats, and have been quoted in many nationwide publications. Photography is a passion, and I have had photos printed in National Geographic Traveler and Travel + Leisure. I contributed to a Williams-Sonoma cookbook: Cooking from the Farmers' Market, which was released in February 2010. I live in San Francisco, California and can often be found at local farmers markets seeking out the best of what's in season and chatting with farmers.
  • http://scratch.typepad.com Rachelino

    Well, I already bought it when it appeared last week, so I guess I am cheating but RHUBARB! I buy and freeze it this time of year (cut in 1″ chunks) for use all year long.
    Of course, I am excited about strawberries and cherries, the beginning of stone fruit season!
    Which farm (or market) sells fres sour/tart cherries in the Bay Area? I thought that I needed to buy IQF cherries from Michigan to get true tart pie cherries.

  • Denise Lincoln

    Now I’m excited about cherry season. I think I may try that brandied fruit recipe. Thanks for the great tips!

  • Jasmine

    Rachelino (or anyone else) where have you found rhubarb? I’ve been looking for it at a number of different farmer’s markets for the past few weeks, and haven’t found a stalk!

  • http://scratch.typepad.com Rachelino

    I found it at the Kensington Farmer’s market (super tiny, near my house) but I have also found it at El Cerrito Natural Grocery and Monterey Market for great prices.