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Little Italy Mercato Blog

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September 27, 2013 - 1:27pm
Brijet M.

Sweet, sticky, gooey; we love our local honey at the Little Italy Mercato. The bees are a buzzin', busy pollinating plants and taking the sweet nectar of flowers back to the hive to make this all natural treat. It's flora and fauna working in perfect synergy. Get your honey fix at Heritage Family Farms, Papa Jim's Honey and Mikolich Honey.

Buy a wedge of Ewe's Blue from The Cheese Store of SD and drizzle with honey to take your cheese plate to a whole new level. Grab root vegetables like rainbow carrots and beets from Maciel Farm and Sage Mountain Farm and toss with a little Bistro Blends olive oil, balsamic vinegar from Thyme of Essence and a spoonful of honey. Add a dab of Nicolau Farms goat cheese for this recipe. Swirl honey in your Ancient Secrets Greek yogurt, add Safari Crunch or NanDog's Naturals Granola and your favorite seasonal fruit and you have yourself a tasty, healthy breakfast.

There's an old bit of health advice that says a little dose of local honey a day can help fight seasonal allergies, so long as it's raw and unfiltered (raw, unfiltered honey contains small amounts local pollen, the culprit behind hay fever).

From the hard working bees that make it possible, to the phenomenal pairings you can create with foods, we're just crazy about this nature made treat. Buy local honey and support local honey bees! Buzz!


September 20, 2013 - 10:41am
Brijet Myers

Head to the Little Italy Mercato this Saturday and buy the pear-fect fruit for your summertime recipes. Asian pears have hit the market thanks to Heritage Family Farm, Gilbert Quintos Farm, Doucette Farms and Smit Farms, and these sweet fruits are pretty versatile. 

According to the Chinese, pears are considered a cooling fruit- and that's something we need during these last few days of summer! Grab some pears and a few fuji apples from Lone Oak Ranch for this Easy Pear Sauce (great for lunchboxes as the kids head back to school this month!). Buy lemons from Polito Family Farm and organic butter from Springhill Cheese Company for these Vanilla Roasted Pears

Goat cheese from Nicolau Farms and this Pear Marmalade go together perfectly on your favorite crackers or crusty bread from Bread & Cie or Belen Bakery. Try blending pears for a glaze like the one used on these chicken skewers (pick up the bird from Descanso Valley Ranch or Spur Valley Ranch). We used rich bleu cheese from the San Diego Cheese Store on this Asian Pear Pizza and loved the strong flavors. 

Pick up three or four pears to keep on hand for your summer salads, to pack in your picnic basket or munch while you shop the Mercato! 


August 23, 2013 - 12:10pm
Brijet M.

It's heating up in San Diego, and that means melons will soon be weighing down the farmers' tables at the Little Italy Mercato!

Save room in your shopping bag because you won't be able to resist the multi-colored melons found at Tom King, Suzie's Farm and J.R. Organics' booth. Find tips for best use of these sweet fruits here. Classic red melons are perfect sliced and served on a tray for a BBQ side dish. Use orange or yellow watermelons, oranges and juice from Paradise Valley Ranch and cucumbers from Maciel Farm in recipes like Watermelon Salsa for a punch of color.

Serve up drinks for the grown-ups with a twist; try this Watermelon Tequila beverage with Mikolich Honey, or buy white wine from Triple B Ranches, green tea from The Loose Leaf or Tea Gallerie and your favorite colored melon for a Watermelon Tea Cocktail. Into pickling? Don't toss those rinds! Follow these steps to use the melon shell.

Chop and toss melons into your favorite salads and pick up feta from Nicolau Goat Farm and mint from Riveras Treasure Garden for this Fresh & Frugal Salad.

Enjoy them now.... when this season is over, you'll be melon-choly!


July 19, 2013 - 1:13pm
Christopher S.

Look for heirloom tomatoes from Schaner Farm, J.R. Organics, Tom King Farm and all your favorites at the Little Italy Mercato this week. Dice them with chile peppers, onion and cilantro from Suzie’s Farm for a bright salsa fresca, or add them to ripe avocados from Terra Bella Ranch for guacamole.

Slice them and serve with ultra-fresh Gioia Burrata from The Cheese Store, fresh basil from Gilbert Quintos Farm and a touch of local olive oil from The Farmer’s Daughter, or pick up Polito Farm citrus to try this cool and refreshing Grapefruit and Heirloom Tomato Salad.

These summer treats sell fast, so shop early for the best selection; the Little Italy Mercato opens at 8AM!


July 12, 2013 - 11:07am
Christina S.

Find piles of purple, green and yellow string beans at Vang’s Farm, Maciel Farm, J.R. Organics and all your favorites at the Little Italy Mercato!

Cook them with Mikolich Honey and Hopkins AG almonds to make Spicy-Sweet Beans, or pick up cherry tomatoes from Suzie’s Farm for this cool string bean salad. Try easy grilled green beans with a little lemon zest from Polito Farm- we added summer squash and onions from Schaner Farms to the mix.

These beans will keep in your refrigerator for a few days, but their snappy texture and flavor are best if you enjoy them soon after they’re picked, so fill your shopping bag this Saturday!


July 4, 2013 - 2:06pm
Christopher S.

Keep the Independence Day celebration going with an all American barbecue from the Little Italy Mercato. Start with grown in the USA veggies like sweet corn from Kawano Farms, summer squash and onion from Sage Mountain Farm, and green beans from Suzie’s Farm. (click links for recipes!)

Carnivores can grab grass fed ground beef for burgers from SonRise Ranch (we top ours with organic cheddar from Spring Hill Cheese), pastured beef tri-tip from Da-Le Ranch, or locally made sausages from the Meat Men. Find free roaming chicken at Descanso Valley Ranch or Spur Valley Ranch, and get great grilling and basting sauce at Bistro Blends or Gourmet Delights.

Make BBQ season great this summer!


June 27, 2013 - 11:35pm
Christina S.

Spruce up supper with a wide variety of summer herbs from the Little Italy Mercato. Look for parsley, dill, cilantro, basil, rosemary and thyme at Suzie’s Farm, J.R. Organics or Gilbert Quintos Farm; Schaner Farms has bundles of herbs de Provence and Rivera’s Treasure Garden has a huge selection of potted herbs to take home and plant in your window box.

Visit your favorite rancher and make a herb-roasted chicken, pick up baby potatoes from Sage Mountain Farm or Polito Farm’s booth to toss with a handful of fresh chervil or tarragon, or pick up locally caught halibut at Poppa’s Fresh Fish or Salmon Slinger for lemon and herb poached halibut. Go to Maciel Farm or Kawano Farms to make this herb and beet salad and use Springhill Cheese Company butter and fresh chives to make this turnip roots & greens ragout.

Herb is the word!


June 21, 2013 - 3:45pm
Christina S.

A cornucopia of summer squash will fill your shopping bags to overflowing tomorrow with crookneck, pattypan, eight ball and zucchini from Little Italy Mercato growers including Sage Mountain Farm, J.R. Organics, Maciel Farm and more.

Try big, light green Opo squash from Vang's Farm - find them in their new location between India and Kettner. Visit the French countryside by roasting your favorite squashes with the first heirloom tomatoes and fennel from Suzie’s Farm and Herbs de Provence from Schaner Farm. Pick up sweet corn at Kawano Farms’ stand for this fresh twist on ratatouille.

Use lemons from Polito Farm, estate bottled oil from The California Olive, and fresh herbs from Gilbert Quintos Farm for a marinated summer squash salad - we topped ours with goat’s milk feta cheese from Nicolau Farms. Stock up on squash this Saturday from 8 AM to 2 PM!


May 31, 2013 - 1:37pm
Chris S.

Look for cool, crisp cucumbers including Persian, Japanese, English and assorted pickling varieties from J.R. Organics, Suzie's Farm and Vang’s Farm at the Little Italy Mercato on Saturday. Get your Greek on by tossing sliced cukes with Nicolau Farms’ goat feta, kalamatas from Lisko Imports, onion from Second Chance Farm, and fresh oregano from Rivera’s Treasure Garden.

Try using Japanese cucumbers for this pickled cukes recipe. Buy garlic at Sage Mountain Farm and give these garlic dill refridgerator pickles a try. 

Line up some limes from Gilbert Quintos farm for a refreshing Cucumber Agua Fresca. Add Suzie's Farms' strawberries for a twist. If you prefer your cukes already pickled, Happy Pantry has naturally fermented pickled cucumbers and other local vegetables.

Stay cool as a cucumber at the Little Italy Mercato!


May 24, 2013 - 9:50am
C. Smyczek

Roll down Date Street to shop the Little Italy Mercato for white and yellow peaches, nectarines, apricots and more from Smit Orchards, Lone Oak Ranch and Heritage Family Farms.

Slice them into a summer fruit salad with raspberries from Kawano Farms, strawberries from J.R. Organics or blueberries from Pudwill Berry Farms, or try roasted peaches with Nicolau Farms’ goat cheese and Papa Jim's Honey - we topped them with fresh macadamia nuts from Fancy Treat Farms for a tasty crunch.

Visit Keys Creek Lavender Farm to make a refreshing peach lavender soda, or try tossing sliced apricots with fennel from Maciel Farm, baby organic greens from Sage Mountain Farm and a splash of white balsamic vinegar from Gourmet Delights for a super simple yet flavorful salad.

Stock up on stone fruits this Saturday!