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Little Italy Mercato Blog

DREAM OF AUBERGINE

June 20, 2014 - 11:28am
Author: 
Brijet Myers

Aubergine, or eggplant, is in season at the Little Italy Mercato farmers' market, and it’s one of our favorite summer vegetables!

Select eggplants from Vang's Farm and make a classic eggplant parmigiana with fresh basil and, of course, real Parmigiano-Reggiano from Thyme of Essence Cheese. If you have the patience and the need to impress, Japanese eggplant from Suzie’s Farm and summer squashes from Kawano Farms are perfect for this gorgeous ratatouille recipe; yes it’s the one from that movie!

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GOT A PET PEEVE?

June 6, 2014 - 12:08pm
Author: 
Brijet M.

Somehow word has gotten around that the Little Italy Mercato farmers' market is "pet friendly". It's easy to understand how that's happened- Little Italy is possibly the most dog-centric neighborhood in San Diego, despite the small condos that provide most of our housing. Our market is on a city street, and plenty of our neighbors pass by on their way to the de facto dog park at Washington Elementary School. Vendors offer natural pet food, treats, and pet portraits in Amici Park at the market just east of State Street. And our staff is a dog loving bunch outside the market.

But CalCode, the set of regulations that govern food safety at restaurants, grocery stores and yes, farmers' markets and special events, is not so pet friendly. While not restricting service animals, those regulations require that live animals be kept 20 feet from places where food is prepared or stored for sale to the public. In a crowded market like ours, that's tough to accomplish if you're bringing your dog along to help you shop.

SAVOR A CABBAGE DISH

February 21, 2014 - 12:33pm
Author: 
Brijet M.

Celebrate the cabbage at the Little Italy Mercato farmers' market! This crisp, leafy veggie packs a nutrient punch and tastes great cooked in a variety of ways. 

Pick up nappa cabbage at Vang's Farm and make an Orange Sesame Coleslaw using Polito Family Farms citrus and colorful carrots from Maciel Farm. Add some red chili flakes from Coronado Spice & Tea for a kick! Buy nappa cabbage to make Kimchi, or just pick up a jar of this deliciously sour stuff from Happy Pantry. Try braised cabbage for a great snack or sidedish. 

MEET AND GREET ON DATE STREET

November 8, 2013 - 2:44pm
Author: 
Brijet M.

Since expanding into a sixth block this past summer, the Little Italy Mercato has been able to bring even more locally owned businesses and farmers to Date Street every Saturday!

Gear up for the holidays and grab items from the newest booths on the block; buy Charlie's Butters to use on- as our staff would say- everything! Their Bird Rub butter is ready for the Thanksgiving turkey you can pre-order from Da-Le Ranch and Spur Valley Ranch. Get baguettes from Bread & Cie and check out Brookside Winery's jellies for your hors d'oeuvres plate. Add D&G Produce's Kyoho grapes to your platter for a sure win.

Fill your shopping bag with more new Mercato items like locally made tofu from SD Soy Dairy, bottles of California farm sourced juices made by Little Italy-based OH Juice and a plethora of spices from Coronado Spice Company.

Looking to spruce up your home decor? Hip Chicks has comfy, colorful chairs that will brighten up any room and make great gifts! Come see what's new at the Mercato tomorrow (and every Saturday) from 8am - 2pm!  

WAVE YOUR POM-POM-POMEGRANATES

October 4, 2013 - 12:02pm
Author: 
Brijet M.

It must be Fall, because we have been seeing vibrant red pomegranates at the Little Italy Mercato. Look for them at Heritage Farm, Lone Oak Ranch, Fancy Treats Farm and Tom King in the coming weeks. Often called a ‘superfood’ due to their antioxidant content, pomegranates add a splash of color and a bright, sweet-tart flavor to all sorts of sweet and savory dishes.

Sprinkle the seeds over a cheesecake made with Springhill Cheese Company organic quark, or stir into your Ancient Secrets Greek yogurt in the morning. Cook them together with their juice to make a sauce for roast duck from Da-Le Ranch, or pick up avocados from Paradise Valley Ranch or Gilbert Quintos Farm for pomegranate guacamole.

Fresh pomegranates are in season from now through the end of fall!

THE BEE'S KNEES

September 27, 2013 - 1:27pm
Author: 
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!

HAVE A PEAR-FECT DAY

September 20, 2013 - 10:41am
Author: 
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! 

CATCH THIS MELON!

August 23, 2013 - 12:10pm
Author: 
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!

BLOOMIN' HEIRLOOMS

July 19, 2013 - 1:13pm
Author: 
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!

STRING IT ON!

July 12, 2013 - 11:07am
Author: 
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!