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North Park Farmers' Market Blog

Eat it Now

October 3, 2011 - 1:40pm
Britta T

You can't deny the the season for warmer foods and cooler temperatures is here. October has already brought us beautiful foggy mornings, deliciously warm afternoons, and brisk evenings when we can and should be gathering with friends and family to eat together, meet together, and give praise where it's due to the incredible flavors of Fall. 

This week at the North Park Farmers' Market, be sure to do your homework and taste all the gorgeous offerings our vendors have to offer. Fuji apples and Royal Flame grapes from Smit Orchards are in their prime! Persimmons from John Gilruth are begging you to try them, and pears, pomegranates, and passionfruit from R&L are heavy with sweet juices. The guys at JR Organics are proudly stacking their orange glowing pumpkins and squash, so roll them around and pick out your best for jack'o'lanterns and pies. Don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for fresh broccoli, leeks, and carrots from Suzie's. It's time to cook it all down into warm soups and feed your folks!

Take home a slab of yummy gruyere cheese from Taste Cheese, just plucked earthen potatoes from Produce Stand, some fennel and chives or some yummy ham from Da Le Ranch and whip yourself up a soft, warm gratin that will beckon the neighbors for dinner. Drink wine or cider, take things slow, and catch up on everything that fell in between the cracks this summer...

Fall is fabulous, isn't it??


To Squash or not to Squash

September 28, 2011 - 2:53pm
Britta T

Summer's gone and there's no better way to honor the season by turning out all your favorite squash recipes, saying goodbye, and welcoming Fall. The North Park Farmers' Market is teeming with summer squash and other ingredients that will knock your socks off! 

Casseroles are always crowd pleasers- they feed the masses and leave you with loveable leftovers. Try mixing some delicious goat-cheese feta from Nicolau Farmstead with thinly sliced "eight ball" squash from Suzie's Farm and a few cloves of garlic and some green onions from the Produce Stand. Can you say perfection!?

Who can say no to fresh baked zucchini bread? It’s like cake but with half the guilt! Add dried bing cherries from Smit Orchards and a handful of toasted almonds from Hopkins AG, bake just until the loaf browns to keep it moist and sweet. You’re sure to find loads of new “friends” once the smells from your kitchen reach the street. 

How about trying an easy, raw zucchini salad? Pick a few dark green zucchinis, sweet carrots from JR Farms, and bright bell peppers from Suzie's. Grate them into a bowl, add salt and cider vinegar to coat, toss with Bari's garlic olive oil and juicy cherry tomatoes from Kawano Farms for a simple salad that's portable, fresh, and good for you!


Cheers for Beers

September 21, 2011 - 2:14pm
Britta T


In case you weren't able to book your own tickets to Munich this week to celebrate the all too indulgent Oktoberfest, we've got a few ideas up our sleeves at the North Park Farmer's Market to help you throw your own lively festival. Oktoberfest began as a wedding celebration for Crown Prince Luitpold I and Princess Theressa of Bavaria, and has since transformed into a festival for music, dancing, singing, eating -- and lots and lots of beer drinking. 

Gather your friends and family and enjoy a feast of royal proportions with these rich recipes: Try a vegetarian take on traditional Bierocks and pick up a jar of spicy sauerkraut from Happy Pantry, swing by Taste Cheese for some yummy, savory spreads, and put them together on fresh slices of sourdough bread from Belen Bakery. If you want some meat, take home a pound of savory ground beef from Da Le Ranch to add to the dish. Or create your own German style potato salad using Russet potatoes from Produce Stand, onions and parsley from Suzie's Farm.  Make Jagerschnitzel to meets everyone's needs, using Kawano Farms mushrooms, Bari's garlic olive oil, pork from Da Le Ranch, and Spring Hill Cheese new slightly sweet sour cream. 

Oh and don't forget your authentic, german style beer. Stop by the Linkery or Ritual Tavern on your way home for a pint!


Salad of the Gods

September 19, 2011 - 3:20pm
Britta t


The Gods were onto something when they boasted of delicate olives, fresh salads, and the best of the Mediterranean's harvest. Now's the best time to head to the North Park Farmers Market and stock up on all sorts of fresh ingredients to put together your best Greek family dinner yet.

Greek Saganaki is a savory traditional side dish that brings everyone together before a meal. Try a different twist and pan fry fresh slices of feta cheese from Spring Hill. Arrange on a platter with juicy, sweet slices of Roma tomatoes from Valdivia Farms and lemon wedges from R&L Farms. Or make your own tasty Skordalia dip using one pound of russet potatoes from Produce Stand, a few fresh cloves of garlic, and half a cup of raw almonds from Hopkins AG. Cook the potatoes, roast the almonds and blend together with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper, then enjoy with some fresh pita bread from Baba Foods or try dipping sweet radishes and carrots.

You can't go wrong by making a huge Greek salad to share with friends and neighbors. Stop by JR Organics for a few heads of crunchy romaine lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, cripsy cucumbers, and red onions. Add a few hungarian hot wax peppers from Suzie's Farm to give it a kick. Top it off with some Kalamata olives from Lisko imports and a glass of white wine, or use the traditional 3 coffee beans from Agora Bean & Leaf with glasses of Sambuca ...the Greeks were always known for their decadence, weren't they?


Apples Falling Just in Time

September 19, 2011 - 3:20pm
Britta t

With the upcoming Autumnal Equinox, this Thursday marks the first official day of autumn! We've felt the change in the air and seen a few more winter crops sneak their way into our farmers' booths. But now its officially time to break out the scarves, rain boots, and even more sunscreen (this is San Diego, remember?). But more importantly start creating delicious fall recipes. It's time for apples, persimmons, citrus, and yummy winter squash. Kids are back to school and the fruit is ripe for picking. That means apple pie and persimmon puddings, fresh orange anything and all the pumpkin spice you can handle.

Look out this week for sweet and crispy Fuji apples from Smit Orchards and take a bunch home to turn into chunky cinnamon and nutmeg infused apple butter. Or slip on your baking hat and make a warm, gooey apple pie, or even enjoy them fresh in a September-worthy salad with mixed greens from Suzie's farm, raw almonds from Hopkins AG, and a fresh stalk of celery from JR Organics. Select a finely pressed olive oil from Bari's Olive oil and drizzle generously over a bowl of salad.

Acorn squash and baby butternuts are peeking into the market too, from JR Organics and the Produce Stand so don't feel guilty about jumping early on baking yourself some fresh roasted squash soup topped with fresh herbs and sprouted pumpkin seeds from Suzie's to enjoy as the fog rolls in over the city...


Salads and Summer Surplus

September 14, 2011 - 11:23am
Britta T


Summer has hardly left San Diego, or at least it hasn't left the farmers' markets yet. The stalls at our North Park Farmers’ Market are still bursting with heirloom tomatoes, sweet smelling melons, crunchy green beans, bell peppers, and sweet stone fruit that will make you salivate just looking at them! Salads are a quick and healthy way to make the most of this long lasting harvest, so try these different recipes this week and enjoy the splendor of summer for a few more days.

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
-Soft, tender wedges of sweet pink grapefruits from John Gilruth and a few slices of his tasty reed avocados will make your taste buds soar with delight. Mix with fresh baby greens and parsley rom Suzie's Farm and drizzle with some extra virgin oil from Bari's Olive Oil. Even your kids will enjoy this bright, yummy salad.

Melon with Fig and Proscuitto Salad
-Choose the most fragrant of JR Organics honeydew and cantaloupe melons, pick up a lean cut of ham or prosciutto from Da Le Ranch, a bunch of basil from Maciel & Family, and a handful of succulent, delicious figs from R&L…dice the melons, layer a few strips of proscuitto on top, and garnish with chopped basil, fig slices, and drizzle with fresh olive oil. This makes an appetizing and romantic salad for two.

Grilled Zucchini Pepper Salad
-Take advantage of bumper crops this season by firing up your grill. You can pick up a few pounds of summer squash and zucchini from JR Organics or Valdivia Farms, pick a peck of pipin' hot peppers from Suzie's farm, coat them in olive oil from Bari's Olive Oil and grill in batches till browned. Garnish with fresh basil and balsamic vinegar for a savory, sizzling salad.  


No Power, No Problem

September 12, 2011 - 3:22pm
Britta T

Although all the groceries stores and numerous restaurants were shut down last Thursday evening during San Diego's recent power grid blackout, the North Park Farmers' Market was totally abuzz, serving food to hungry people. Lots of conversations about preserving food have come up since that night,but luckily, whether you’re in a power outage, fighting an illness, or just want to sweeten things up a bit, honey- like my dad always said, “is good for what ails ya”.

If you’re stocked up on fruit, dairy products, and meat that might rapidly go bad in a power outage, use honey as a natural, quick acting food preservative. The high concentration of glucose in honey forces the water out of any yeast or bacteria cells that could otherwise contaminate food. Take those too-ripe-to-eat peaches and plums from R & L or your overstock of sweet table grapes from Smit Orchards and make your own fruit compote to remind you of summer’s sweetness all year round. Mix your leftover goat cheese or lemon quark from Spring Hill Cheese or soft goudas from Taste Cheese with a tablespoon of honey from Meljess Bees to prolong it for a few extra days. Or create your own honey baked ham using meat from Da Le Ranch and cure any uncooked pieces directly in honey to protect it from developing bacteria.

Honey goes well with just about anything- and the farmers' market is just the place to stock up on delicious, local honey as well as all the goodies you can imagine to pair with it. Using Kawano Farms' big, bold eggplants, try drizzling eggplant fritters with an orange blossom honey for a new and interesting appetizer. Or if you're looking for something more sweet and creamy, mix a few tablespoons of lavender honey with the creamy goat chevre from Nicolau Farms and use it as a dip with fresh Gala apples from Smit Orchards or pair it with freshly baked cinammon bread from Belen Bakery. So however you use it, be sure to sport your local honey tee- shirt from Locally Grown Clothing and spread the word of the incredible magic of honey. 


Hot Tips for Colds

September 12, 2011 - 2:58pm
Britta T


Let's not beat around the bush- summer is leaving, kids are back to school, and those nasty colds are already making their way into our homes and our noses. Luckily, nature supplies us with everything you need to fight viruses, which can all be found at the farmers’ market, so there’s no need to spend your time and energy inside a pharmacy loading up on pills. Try these tested and true holistic remedies to prevent yourself from snagging the flu. 

1)Buy some fresh, raw wildflower honey from Meljess Bees and  make a glass of lukewarm honey water mixed with cinnamon powder to help boost your immune system during the cold season. (Honey should never be boiled- the heat kills its enzymes, leaving it vulnerable to bacteria.) 

2) Get outside! Good airflow means less viruses flying around your head and you can absorb some much needed Vitamin D from our friend, the Sun. Good thing our markets are outdoors...

3) Lose the stuffy head: Add a cupful of dried chamomile flowers (You can find fresh bouquets at Suzie’s Farm) to a pot of boiling water. Turn off the heat, cover, and let it steep for a few minutes. Then, using a towel over your head, inhale the steam and enjoy the herbal steam bath. 

4) Eat your C’s: Vitamin C is one of the most effective tools to help boost your immunity. Especially during cold season, you should be increasing your intake by eating the right foods. JR Organics has fresh thyme and parsley, the sweetest strawberries, and even broccoli that are packed with vitamins. Produce Stand can supply you with crisp, dark, leafy greens and bright bell peppers. Don’t forget to drink your orange juice- Paradise Valley Ranch has you covered with fresh squeezed Valencia orange juice and big bags of oranges to keep you strong and energetic.

5) Do as grandma says, make chicken soup! The soup's salty broth keeps mucus thin (and taste better than cough syrup). Pick up carrots and garlic from Maciel & Family and use fresh herbs and tomatoes from Valdivia Farms to make a healing soup.  


Pack in the Protein

September 7, 2011 - 10:37am
Britta T


Ever wonder if the food you eat gives you enough of that prized possession, protein? You've got options folks! The North Park Farmers' Market has all of them stacked and ready to go so you can pack your meals with a protein punch.

If you're feeling carnivorous, try something new and grab a lean cut of rabbit from Da Le Ranch- high in protein and low in fat, this is a great addition to any slow cooked stew. If veggies are calling your name, make a fresh summer salad with lima beans and corn, topped with shaved broccoli stems from Maciel and Family. How about snacking on a handful of raw almonds from Hopkins AG to carry you through your day, or try adding fresh walnuts from Nicolau Farm to a pile of Suzie's fresh arugula and roasted beets. There's always your traditional on-the-go meal by smearing some cinnamon infused peanut butter from PB Peanut Butter all over a toasted slice of sunflower flaxseed multigrain baked by Belen Bread. Give your breakfast a boost and smother a good helping of Bitchin' Sauce's pesto over poached eggs and avocado slices from Paradise Valley Ranch or dip fresh carrots and cucumbers from Suzie's Farm in Majestic Garlic's rich, vegan curry hummus. However you do it, you're sure to feel good eating straight from the market! 


Goin' Green

September 7, 2011 - 8:51am
Britta T


We've heard a lot of buzz lately about green drinks, green energy and green washing. If you're aware of the different ways you can practice a more environmentally conscious lifestyle, we're right there with you and the North Park Farmers' Market is a great place to practice "being green". It's easier than Kermit the Frog thought, and here are a few ways you can support sustainable practices at the market too!

1) Buy local, mostly organic products!
Admit it, the food tastes better and you feel good knowing that you're supporting local business owners and farmers. It's great for you and even better for mother nature. Ask your farmer about their farm and their practices and keep buying their products to support them.

2) Recycle!
Vendors like Happy Pantry or Thyme of Essence offer a $1 discount on jars of pickles if you return the jar every week. Refill your egg cartons with Paradise Valley Ranch. Reuse your plastic smoothie bottles or glass gallon jugs when you fill up from Green Fix every week.

4) Reuse canvas bags
Instead of using so many plastic products every week (for everything from your hot food items, beverages, and produce bags), come prepared with reusable bags or beverage containers. Remember, if you forget, we've got insulated reusable bags for sale at the Info booth!

5) Choose two wheels over Four
Not only is it fun and good exercise to ride your beautiful bike to a farmers' market, but you do good for the environment and alsolessen the load of traffic in and around markets. Get a basket and take home your fresh produce while doing something good for the earth!