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Little Italy Mercato Blog

NUTTER BUTTER

October 10, 2012 - 1:07pm
Author: 
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.

PICK A PERFECT PUMPKIN

October 4, 2012 - 9:24pm
Author: 
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!

PLANET POMEGRANATE

September 21, 2012 - 1:28pm
Author: 
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!

PEP UP!

September 13, 2012 - 11:00am
Author: 
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!

 

GET PICKLED

September 5, 2012 - 11:25am
Author: 
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!

 

BERRIED ALIVE!

August 29, 2012 - 3:43pm
Author: 
Chris S.

Fresh strawberries from Kawano Farms, JR Organics and Suzie’s Farm have the Little Italy Mercato smelling like summer!

Mix them with golden raspberries and blackberries from Pudwill Berry Farm, or toss them with peaches from the Polito Farm stand, nectarines from Lone Oak Ranch,or prickly pear from Rancho Mexico Lindo.

Grab greens from Gilbert Quintos Farm, Chandler walnuts from Terra Bella Ranch and Saint Agur bleu from Taste Cheese for a super strawberry salad. Pick up melons from Tom King or Proios Family Farm and fresh mint from Rivera’s Treasure Garden for this cool fruit gazpacho, or spread your culinary wings by picking up fresh quail from Spur Valley Ranch for this slow-cooked quail with berry sauce.

Have a berry good day!

 

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!