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North Park Farmers' Market Blog

What to do with: Sorrel

March 25, 2011 - 12:33pm
Chris S


Sorrel is a leafy green vegetable (or is it an herb?) that looks like spinach but offers an entirely unique flavor.  Suzie's Farm will be bringing this zesty. lemony, sometimes peppery plant to the Little Italy Mercato this week, and we've got some great ideas for using this seriously under appreciated green.  First of all, forget everything you think you know about roasted beet salads.  Then grab some beets and a bunch of sorrel from Suzie's.  Got salt and pepper at home?  Good olive oil?  Ok, you're done shopping.  (If you don't have those things at home, check out Thyme of Essence for California olive oil and Salt Farm for the rest.)  Peel and dice the beets, toss with oil, salt and pepper and roast until soft, reserving the liquid that runs off them (which we'll call salad dressing.)  Let the beets cool, toss with sorrel leaves and salad dressing, and get ready to be amazed that five ingredients can sing so beautifully together.  The sweet, earthy beets and the tart, citrusy sorrel are a perfect combination.

Farmers' Market Integrity 101

March 18, 2011 - 6:26pm
Catt W


As Farmers' Market managers, it's our job to monitor what's happening at our markets so you - as shoppers - can feel confident that you know what you're buying.

For us this week, that means we'll probably be taking a farm stand out of our Thursday North Park event that has been there since before we took over this particular market. The man who runs that stand is hard-working, reliable, and personable. This will probably affect his income, and he likely has a family to support. That's why decisions like these are not made lightly.

Unfortunately, validating suspicions that we had started to develop, the County Agriculture Department's most recent inspection of that vendor (I'm hesitant to say farmer right now) turned up several issues that can't be ignored.

The letter of the Direct Marketing law requires that farmers, their immediate families or bonafide employees sell only what is produced on their farm, so that the origin and growing conditions can be verified. Since Certified Farmers Markets in San Diego are often combined with a weekly event that includes non-farmers, non-certified produce sales can be included in a different area of the event, but we believe that generally violates the spirit of the law. If you buy fruits and vegetables at our markets, we want you to be buying them from the farmer. Click "Read more" below for the rest of the story...


The Luck o' the Irish to You!

March 15, 2011 - 9:37am
Hillary E.


It's all corned beef, cabbage and four leaf clovers on this green-centric holiday, but don't get stuck in a rut when it comes to making your Irish feast; look to the markets to inspire your menu.  Wednesday at Adams Avenue Farmer's market pick up some savoy cabbage (pictured - tight and compact with crinkly leaves) from Suzie's Farm to make a traditional Irish side of colcannon, a fancy word for mashed potatoes mixed with thinly sliced cabbage.  Or make a puree of roasted turnips from Maciel & Family, earthy and sweet, these could replace mashed potatoes altogether.

On Thursday at North Park Farmer's Market pick up all the ingredients you'll need for a healthy green snack of kale chips.  Simply tear the leaves from a bunch of kale from JR Organics into large pieces and toss with a little olive oil from Thyme of Essence and a pinch of ground up sea salt in your favorite flavor from Salt Farm.  Bake at 300F for 15-20 minutes, or until they're nice and crispy, and you've got a nutritious alternative to potato chips.  Oysters and Guinness is another classic pairing so be sure and stop by Poppa's Fresh Fish to pick up a dozen bivalves to shuck and enjoy at home.

Here's to your health and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Crunch Time

March 8, 2011 - 3:00pm
Chris S


If you're craving something crunchy, head over to the North Park Farmers' Market for some healthy satisfaction.  Baby carrots and summer squashes from Valdivia Farms, crunchy radishes and brocoli from Suzie's, crisp celery, bell peppers and green onions from JR Organics are all just right for dipping into creamy garlic paste from Majestic Garlic, original or chipotle Bitchin' Sauce, hummus from Baba Foods or Lisko Imports, or homemade guacamole from R&L's avocados.  If you're watching calories, skip the dips and sprinkle some of Salt Farm's new Thai green curry infused salt for a spicy kick.  Unlike fried chips and packaged snack foods, fresh crunchy vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.  Oh, yeah, most importantly, they're delicious!


March 1, 2011 - 3:46pm
Hillary E.


Condiments are the flair of the epicurean world; they take food to the next level, elevate the flavors and make you say “wow!” In addition to the freshest produce North Park Farmer’s Market has some amazing condiments to enhance those farm-to-table meals you make at home. Smear some Bitchin’ Sauce, either regular or chipotle flavor, on your sandwich and taste the transformation. Majestic Garlic’s pickled garlic varieties are crunchy tart surprises in salads and their garlic pastes make for excellent dipping with vegetables. And for the more subtle approach, Salt Farm’s infused sea salts add that certain je ne sais quoi to foods when added as a final touch. Try the black truffle on your steaks from Da Le Ranch or a dash of the habanero-lime in your margarita. The ordinary just got extraordinary!

A Date with Good Taste

March 1, 2011 - 12:36pm
Chris S


Are you looking for a date this Thursday night?  Morocco Gold Dates has them fresh, dried, and in preserves, and we've got fresh ideas for how to use them.  Stuff a  date with your favorite bleu cheese from Taste, wrap it with bacon from DaLe Ranch and bake it until it's a crispy, sticky, sweet gooey glob of goodness.  Grab some almond butter from Hopkins Ag, that delicious date jam, and some fresh baked bread from Belen Bakery, and make a very upscale twist on good old PB&J.  Make a Moroccan style stew by simmering carrots and onions from Suzie's or JR Organics with tomato from Valdivia, green garlic, and chopped, dried dates.  Season it with cumin, coriander and ginger.  Carnivores may want to add naturally raised chicken from DaLe Ranch to the pot.  Need some more details?  Stop by the info booth, we'll be happy to help you with recipes and with choosing the perfect produce.  All you need now is someone to have dinner with - we can't help you with that kind of date!


March 1, 2011 - 7:03am
Hillary E.


Ditch that soda! Drink smart at your favorite local farmer’s market and taste the rainbow of flavors offered. Catch GreenFix all week long at the Adams Avenue, North Park and Little Italy Mercato with their super healthy blend of 8 different greens, apple juice, banana and flax seed. For nature made sweet, you can also find Smit Orchards at all three markets offering apple cider that’s just as delicious cold as it is when served hot with a dash of cinnamon to fend off the chilly evenings. And when you need a vitamin C packed morning wake up, Polito Family Farms has blood orange juice for sale on Saturdays at the Mercato. Make it a part of your brunch when mixed with champagne for a twist on a classic mimosa, or enjoy the sweet tart juice all on it’s own. Vitamins, minerals and health for all!


February 22, 2011 - 4:20pm
Hillary E.


Not all lemons are created equal with face puckering tartness. The ubiquitous lemons most of us think of are actually the variety known as Eureka lemons. These can be grown year round and have a thicker rind and a tart acidic flavor. But come winter shoppers can find the Meyer lemon, a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange with a thinner skin and a sweeter taste. R&L Farms brings fabulous citrus each Thursday to North Park Farmer’s Market so stop by for a side-by-side comparison and take some home to start experimenting.

If you’re looking to get your lemon fix another way, grab a bottle of Meyer lemon infused olive oil from Bistro Blends to drizzle over sautéed veggies or try Rockstar Preserves' Vodka Lemonade Curd spread on a scone from Belen Bakery.

VENDOR 101 SEMINAR, TUES. MARCH 8th, 6-830pm

February 22, 2011 - 12:54pm
Hillary E.


We know you love shopping the farmer's markets, but you could be the next entrepreneur to sell at the markets. There are more than 40 weekly farmers markets in San Diego County; learn how to take your crop, product or idea and become a farmers' market success story.

Farmers Market Vending 101 will answer your questions including:

• What kind of products can I sell at farmers' markets?
• What permits do I need and how do I get them?
• What kind of equipment do I need and where do I find it?
• What will it cost to get started?
• How do I get accepted and make my product a best seller?

Limited class size. Class will be held in Little Italy. $45 includes class, materials and refreshments. CALL 619.233.3901 to reserve or email for details.

Reserve your space now:


Showdown: Tacos vs. Pizza

February 22, 2011 - 11:47am
Chris S


In this corner, fresh, warm tortillas from Don Tommy's Mexican Food, ready to be filled with grilled tri-tip from DaLe Ranch, or shrimp from Poppa's Fresh Fish, sauteed summer squash from Valdivia Farms, avocado and cilantro from R&L, lettuce from Suzie's, jalapeno and green onion from JR Organics, and maybe a smear of chipotle flavored Bitchin' Sauce.

In the other corner, homemade pizza dough with fresh marinara sauce from Conchetta's, topped with mozzarella from Lisko Imports or parmigiano-reggiano from Taste, DaLe Italian sausage, roasted winter squash from Suzie's, and all your other favorite farm fresh vegetables.  Who will win?  You will if you shop at the North Park Farmers' Market!