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Little Italy Mercato Blog

GETTA BRUSCHETTA!

August 29, 2012 - 12:01pm
Author: 
Brijet M.

Get your bruschetta fixin's at the Little Italy Mercato Farmers' Market! Grab a crunchy baguette from Bead & Cie or Assenti's Pasta, then get creative with your toppings!

Try a classic italian style bruschetta with fresh tomatoes from Maciel Farm, minced and drizzled with Thyme of Essence olive oil, a pinch of Sel de Mer salt from Salt Farm  and slivered basil from Rivera's Treasure Garden. This recipe variation looks delicious! 

Looking for something more unique? Roasted fig and goat cheese bruschetta will hit the mark! If it was us, we'd start with this recipe using figs from Creekside Tropicals, Polito Farms or Terra Bella Ranch, add chevre from Taste Cheese or Nicolau Farms; but also add microgreens from Suzie's Farm and drizzle Fig Balsamic from Bistro Blends on top. 

With so many fruits, veggies, flavor boosters like oils and salts, cheese and more available at the Mercato, your bruschetta will be delicious! 

 

CORN AGAIN!

August 22, 2012 - 2:47pm
Author: 
Chris S.

Sweet summer corn from Maciel Farm and Kawano Farms at the Little Italy Mercato is ready for the grill, salads, and salsa. Smear Springhill Cheese Company’s European style butter on an ear of freshly shucked corn before throwing it on a charcoal grill just long enough for the kernels to turn golden brown, add a little more butter and a pinch of Sel Gris salt from Salt Farm before you dive in!

Steam corn just until tender before slicing it off the cob to toss with diced red onion from Sage Mountain Farm, a little basil from Rivera’s Treasure Garden, and a drizzle of freshly pressed olive oil from the Farmer’s Daughter; serve chilled for a refreshing summer salad.

Grab a handful of hot peppers from Proios Farm or Suzie’s Farm, green onion from Schaner Farm and cilantro from Vang’s Farm for a bright salsa - try it over a grilled seabass filet from Poppa’s Fresh Fish, your friends will think you’re a natural-corn chef!

 

OIL TOGETHER NOW

August 15, 2012 - 11:43am
Author: 
Chris S.

Find the finest oil for salad dressing, sauteeing and more at the Little Italy Mercato. Visit the Farmer’s Daughter for cold pressed extra virgin olive oil from their own groves in Hemet; they also bring Bella Vado avocado oil from Valley Center to the market. Get all the spices and oil you need at the market to make this great dressing recipe

Gourmet Delights offers arbequina and ascolano olive oils from 4th generation Napa Valley growers, as well as grapeseed oil which is ideal for high heat cooking; bring back your empty bottles for a discount on your next purchase. The California Olive Oil Company’s offerings include delicate and robust oils from the Central Coast and imported Italian balsamic vinegars, while Bistro Blends features infused oils like their popular Hot Bistro Oil as well as marinades and grilling sauces.

Thyme of Essence's oils are all sold in recycled liquor bottles from local restaurants. They bring arbosana oil from Mariposa County, and don’t miss their zaatar blends. Visit Assenti Pasta for infused avocado oils from Pacifica Culinaria that are perfect for drizzling over their fresh pasta. It's oil good! 

 

OH MY GOSH, IT'S SQUASH!

August 10, 2012 - 1:14pm
Author: 
Chris S.

The Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market is awash with summer squash in many varieties from your favorite local farms. Kids love flying saucer shaped pattypan squash from Kawano Farms; pick up fresh spinach from Suzie's Farm for this kid-friendly stuffed squash recipe.

Eight-ball squash from JR Organics are also super stuffers; fill them with a mixture of Nicolau Farms fresh chevre and diced red peppers and onions from Vang's Family Farm. Zucchini from Maciel Farm is great for grilling. Slice it in half lengthwise, brush the cut side with Bistro Blends’ Roasted Garlic Chardonnay marinade, then grill and top with grated Peppercorn Dry Jack cheese from Springhill Cheese Company and tasty breadcrumbs from Panache Pantry.

Tom King Farm has unique varietes of summer squash, pick up a few to slice and sautee in olive oil from Thyme of Essence. Stock up on summer squash at the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market!

Love your body inside and out

August 3, 2012 - 1:58pm
Author: 
Chris S.

Love your skin at the Little Italy Mercato, with an amazing selection of naturally invigorating body care products! Holistic Science has handmade, animal product-free apothecary products like Botanic Body Butter, Sugar Scrub and Tonic Mist. Miracle Clay has holistic health products that use magnetic clay to detoxify the skin and body; in addition to clay masks and body wash, their offerings include all natural, fluoride free toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, and sunscreen, which we highly recommend if you’re shopping under the sunny skies in Little Italy!

Make your own beauty products using Paradise Valley Ranch avocados, fresh lemons, Mikolich honey and olive oil. Try this honey and avocado hair treatment. Keys Creek Lavender Farm can make anything from lavender! Bath salts, hand soap or try their fur washes for pets - ideal for animals with sensitive skin, and it naturally repels pests.

Nicolau Farm offers all natural soaps made from goat’s milk; they’re completely free of alcohol, but high in natural glycerine and vitamin A. Enjoy their scented soaps including lavender, orange-clove and oatmeal-honey. Pamper your skin naturally!

 

 

SPRINKLES (OF FLAVOR!) IN THE FORECAST

July 27, 2012 - 10:20am
Author: 
Chris S.

Visit Salt Farm at the Little Italy Mercato this week to try one of their three new blends - Rosemary Himalayan, Havana Spice, and Citrus Vanilla. Sprinkle them on grilled summer squash from Sage Mountain Farm, juicy wedges of heirloom tomato from Schaner Farm, and freshly sliced peaches from Lone Oak Ranch, respectively. Panache Pantry Bread Crumbs are gourmet breadcrumbs made from artisan breads including vintage Sicilian, zucchini rosemary and pumpkin Cajun - sprinkle them over thick slices of sauteed eggplant from Tom King Farm, or toss Chinese broccoli from Vang’s in breadcrumbs and bake for a crunchy, healthy treat. Find more delicious recipes using their crumbs here. Try Thyme of Essence’s herb and spice blends sprinkled over yellow wax beans from Kawano Farms or roasted quail from Spur Valley Ranch. Made from dried wild thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and other spices, their savory mixes will add aroma and flavor to market fresh meats and vegetables. Enjoy some flavor, sprinkle some spice! 

SETTING THE SUMMER TABLE

July 20, 2012 - 3:30pm
Author: 
Chris S.

READY, WILLING & TABLE

Shop the Little Italy Mercato to set the table for an outdoor birthday bash, bridal shower, barbecue or garden party. Pick up lovely Provencal linens at Desire Tablecloths, and choose a handmade ceramic bowl from The Wheel to fill with market fresh fruit for a centerpiece. Bottlehood’s unique tumblers made from repurposed craft beer bottles are perfect for fresh squeezed lemonade, iced tea, or cold beer.

Visit Contes Bella Vino for whimsical wine bottle stoppers that also make great gifts for your guests. Fill a fair trade wooden salad bowl from Seven Hopes United with farm fresh greens and tomatoes, and pick a beautiful carving board frm Artistic Woodcrafts for a cheese course. Send treats home with your guests in a colorful reusable bag from Re-Pac Bags. Find beautiful candelabras at Iron Eyes if it’s an evening affair, and fresh flowers from Dram and Echter are a great touch for anytime. Happy hosting!

YOU SAY TOMATO, I SAY TO-MAH-TO

July 20, 2012 - 1:15pm
Author: 
Chris S.

We all say delicious when ripe summer tomatoes reach the Little Italy Mercato. We love tossing tiny grape tomatoes from Maciel Farm with quinoa from Sustainable Pantry in a spinach salad, and layering beefsteak tomatoes from JR Organics with fresh mozzarella from Taste Cheese. We can’t resist fried green tomatoes from Kawano Farms with a sprinkle of Sel Gris from Salt Farm, or thick slices of stupice tomatoes from Suzie’sFarm topped with their micro basil. Tom King Farm brings some rare heirloom varieties, and you’ll find more red, yellow, green, orange and purple beauties at Schaner Farms and Sage Mountain Farms. Looking for something else to make with the abundance of tomatoes at the market? Try this buckwheat crepe with fresh eggs from Paradise Valley Ranch, corn from Vang's Farm, goat cheese from Nicolau Farm and tomatoes from your favorite farmer. Take home the taste of summer from the Little Italy Mercato today!

FISH YOU WERE HERE

July 13, 2012 - 12:08pm
Author: 
Chris S.

The Little Italy Mercato is the place to find SanDiego’s freshest local seafood. Poppa’s Fresh Fish is famous for their sea urchin ceviche, made with farm fresh citrus and vegetables and served in the urchin shell - so fresh the spikes may still be moving! They’ll also shuck you a dozen oysters, and their fish choices include local sea bass, rockfish and halibut, grouper from Baja and fresh Alaskan salmon. Carlbad Aquafarms has luna oysters and mussels sustainably raised in waters just a few minutes north of San Diego - we love to steam the mussels with tomato and fennel from Maciel Farm. You can’t miss Fish Addiction’s amazing tank full of live Pacific stone crabs - be careful, they do pinch! They also have live sea urchins and scungilli, also known as whelk or top snail. It doesn’t get any fresher than this!

Dog Gone It

July 7, 2012 - 9:34am
Author: 
Catt W

GOT A PET PEEVE?

Somehow word has gotten around that the Little Italy Mercato is pet friendly. It's easy to understand how that's happened. Little Italy is possibly the most dog-centric neigborhood 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.

Aside from the health regulation issue, the Little Italy farmers' market with its amazing farmers and vendors, live music, and water view is a popular place. It attracts a whole lot of shoppers and Date Street can get tricky to maneuver, even without leashes and dogs below eye level making things harder. We don't want a shopper to trip and injure themselves or one of our canine friends. Pets can be stressed out in large crowds of unfamiliar people and may act unpredictably. That can't be fun for you or your dog.

So while we will never restrict service animals, and won't put you in an embarrassing or stressful situation by asking if your dog is serving a purpose covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have posted larger signs reminding you of health code requirements, and we are asking our patrons to shop responsibly so the market can provide a pleasant experience for everyone. Because our two-legged and four-legged friends all deserve that treat!