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Little Italy Mercato Blog

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December 21, 2012 - 1:36pm
Christopher S.

There’s no better way to warm up than with winter squash like butternut, delicata and kabocha at the Little Italy Mercato. Find your favorites at Schaner Farm, Gilbert Quintos Farm, JR Organics and more; simply roast them in the oven and drizzle with Mikolich Honey or top with Springhill Cheese Company’s cultured butter.

Stock up at Smit Orchards for this vegan butternut squash and apple bisque, or grab lacinato kale from Vang’s Farm and almonds from Hopkins AG for this hearty, crunchy squash salad.

Try Morocco Gold’s medjool dates and fennel from Suzie’s Farm in this stuffed acorn squash, or use sweet red walnuts from Terra Bella Ranch in this squash, caramelized onion, walnut flatbread. The sweetness of winter squashes means they’re also perfect in desserts like this creme brulee.

What will you do with squash this week?


December 14, 2012 - 12:28pm
C. Smyczek

Deep golden colored, earthy, aromatic chanterelles from Mello Mushrooms are back at the Little Italy Mercato this week. These delicate forest dwellers show their flavors best in simple preparations; roast them with estate bottled extra virgin oil from the California Olive and chopped garlic from Sage Mountain Farms and serve over fresh handmade pasta from Assenti’s, or sautee them with fresh greens like spinach from Suzie’s Farm, Swiss chard from Maciel Farm or purslane from Gilbert Quintos Farm.

Baby potatoes from Polito Farms become magical when cooked with chanterelles and a few sprigs of fresh tarragon from Rivera’s Treasure Garden; serve with a glass of Triple B Ranch Viognier for a perfect pairing. Pick up scallops from Poppa’s Fresh Fish and fresh thyme from Schaner Farms for scallops with chanterelles, or use JR Organics’ delicata squash and cannellini beans from Suncoast Farms in this chanterelle, sage and squash recipe.

The season for these wild harvested mushrooms is short and unpredictable, so get them this Saturday!



December 7, 2012 - 10:34am
C. Smyczek

Celebrate Hanukkah with festive foods from the Little Italy Mercato!

For potato latkes, visit Polito Farms, Sage Mountain Farm or Proios Farm, or branch out and use sweet potatoes from Vang’s Farm or try these beet and carrot latkes with veggies from Maciel Farm or Kawano Farms. Find oil for frying at Gourmet Delights of the Farmers’ Daughter, and if you’re making apple sauce see Lone Oak Ranch or Smit Orchards. Nicolau Goat Farm, Springhill Cheese Company, and our newest cheesemonger, the Cheese Store of San Diego, have your cheese needs covered. Fill your sufganiyot with your favorite flavor of Jackie’s Jam.

For the main course pick up a chicken from Spur Valley Ranch, a brisket from Son Rise Ranch or DaLe Ranch, or a wild Alaskan filet from the Salmon Slinger. Happy Hanukkah!


November 16, 2012 - 1:04pm
Chris S.

Find all the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast at the Little Italy Mercato!

Get your green beans from Kawano Farms or JR Organics, pick up potatoes at Polito Farm’s stand, and grab yams from Vang’s Farm or Proios Family Farm. Buy cauliflower from Maciel Farms and make this easy and delicious recipe to make a stunning side dish.

Start shopping for stuffing at Bread & Cie or Belen Bakery, then add oyster mushrooms from Suzie’s Farm, herbs from Shaner Farm, or fresh chestnuts from Smit Orchards. Try this roasted squash recipe with butternut squash from Sage Mountain Farm, honey from Mikolich, apples from Heritage Farms and walnuts from Terra Bella Ranch.

We’re giving thanks for our great local farms!


November 2, 2012 - 12:22pm
Brijet M.

November usually brings apples and pears, pomegranates and pumpkins to the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market (and you will find those things this week!), but the heat wave a few weeks back means we’ll also see another wave of warm weather crops that are usually gone by this time of year.

JR Organics is still picking heirloom tomatoes; stretch summer out with this cool tomato and basil salad, using olives from Lisko Imports, basil from Schaner Farms and crumbling some chevre from Taste Cheese on top. Or welcome winter with a warm bowl of tomato soup! Belen Bakery country French bread and cheddar from Spring Hill Cheese Company will make a tasty grilled cheese to go with that salad!

Kawano Farms and Proios Family Farm have more eggplants and summer squashes, and we spotted sweet and hot peppers Suzie’s Farms.

Lone Oak Ranch and Smit Orchards are still harvesting peaches and pluots, and cantaloupe and watermelon are especially sweet right now. Enjoy the fall that feels like summer!


October 10, 2012 - 1:07pm
Christopher S.

Go nuts at the Little Italy Mercato Farmers' Market! Hopkins AG brings a wide variety of dry roasted almonds, along with 100% pure almond butter- try a smear of on your sprouted wheat bread from Belen Bakery toast in the morning for a champion's breakfast. Toss slivered almonds in a salad like this; using the beet stems or a bowl of torn watercress from Suzie's Farm instead of romaine, goat cheese feta from Nicolau Farm and roasted yellow beets from Proios Farm. Feeling extra nutty? Grab a bag of gala apples from Lone Oak Ranch and dip in a jar of your favorite flavored PB Peanut Butter!

Gilbert Quintos Family Farm has fresh picked macadamia nuts by the basket. These seasonal tree nuts have tough shells to crack, but Gilbert opens them up before he loads up the baskets, saving you the trouble. Feeling perplexed about nuts at farmers' markets? Check out a little back-story on these protein-rich treats here.


October 4, 2012 - 9:24pm
Chris S.

Pumpkins and all your other favorite fall squashes are starting to arrive at the Little Italy Mercato’s farm booths. We spotted spaghetti squash at Gilbert Quintos Farm, bought butternut squash from JR Organics, and we ache for acorn squash from Proios Family Farm.

Try stuffing a baked acorn squash with sausage from SonRose Ranch and goat cheese from Nicolau Farm. Make the most of the squashes this season! Get creative with your stuffing ingredients. 

Butternut squash soup never ceases to please- try this easy recipe for the nights that will eventually get chilly! Add a Honeycrisp apple from Smit Orchard to your soup for a sweet touch. 

Pick up adorable miniature pumpkins from Maciel Farm or grab bigger specimens from Suzie’s Farm. Find even more squashes at Sage Mountain Farm and Schaner Family Farm. Roast squash until it’s soft and drizzle with honey from Mikolich Honey or Farmer’s Daughter, sprinkle with spices from Starre’s Spice, or top it with crushed roasted almonds from Hopkins AG.

It’s going to be an awesome autumn!


September 21, 2012 - 1:28pm
Chris S.

One of our favorite things about fall is fresh pomegranates from the Little Italy Mercato. Look for them at Polito Family Farm, Schaner Farm, Sage Mountain, Lone Oak Ranch, Proios Family Farm and Paradise Valley Ranch 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 slice of cheesecake from Nicolau Farm, cook them together with their juice to make a sauce for roast duck from Da Le Ranch, or pick up avocados from your favorite farmer for pomegranate guacamole.

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


September 13, 2012 - 11:00am
Chris S.

You’ll find sweet and spicy peppers at the Little Italy Mercato to pep up all your favorite recipes. Red, green, orange and yellow bell peppers from Vang’s Farm are great for stuffing or cut them into rings and grill with flank steak from Sonrise Ranch for a fajita plate. Use jalapenos or serranos from Sage Mountain Farm for the salsa!

Want to try your hand at making roasted red pepper hummus? Try this easy recipe. If you need a great sidedish, try this southwestern salad using quinoa from Sustainable Pantry, corn from Kawano Farms and your favorite color of bell peppers. Or grab a basket of avocados from PV Ranch and make a sweet corn guacamole

Suzie’s Farm has more than a peck of peppers, including sweet nardellos, antojis, and golden treasures, slightly spicy poblanos, hotter jalapenos and Hungarian wax peppers, and red hot cherry bombs. Proios Family Farm offers baskets of mixed hot peppers for the indecisive.

Spice up your Saturday at the Little Italy Mercato!



September 5, 2012 - 11:25am
Chris S.

Get in touch with your sour side at the Little Italy Mercato with delicious pickled vegetables. Starre Spice’s Vintage Veggies include tomatoes, green beans, white asparagus and carrots, all organic, pickled with their secret spice blend. They’re crisp and tangy; try them with Ewephoria, a sheep’s milk Gouda available at Taste Cheese, or chop them and add to potato salad - visit Polito Farm, Sage Mountain Farm or Proios Family Farm for the spuds.

Ever wanted to make your own pickled veggies? With an abundance of green tomatoes available at Rodney Kawano Farms, you can pick up a pound and try this technique yourself!

Majestic Garlic’s pickled garlic cloves are raw, organic, made with apple cider vinegar and surprisingly mild. They deliver all the health benefits of raw garlic without the bite, and come in fun flavors like curry and cayenne. Want to try making your own pickled garlic? Grab some heads from Suzie's, Vang's or Proios farm and follow these steps

Take a walk on the wild side at Happy Pantry, where all the pickles are naturally fermented by wild organisms - popular items include California kimchi, ginger radishes, rutabaga with chard and classic sour dills. Try the spicy pickles on your next tuna sandwich or by themselves as a snack. We’re pickled to have them at the market!