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North Park Farmers' Market Blog

A Jarring Experience

July 18, 2011 - 8:44am
Author: 
Carolyn K

Did you notice those cucumbers that resembled tiny watermelons at Suzie’s Farm’s booth? Mexican sour gherkin cucumbers, also known as the “mouse melon” is a newly re-discovered heirloom varietal that has a surprisingly sour taste. Their sourness got us thinking about pickling and the North Park Farmer’s Market has a plethora of picks for pickling. According to Chinese medicine, one should consume pickles during the hottest summer months as a tonic for cooling the stomach and strengthening the kidneys. But don’t stop at cucumbers, almost any vegetable or fruit can be pickled. Why not consider pickling chard from JR Organics, green beans or squash from Kawano Farms, and let’s not forget the pickled peppers from Valdivia Farms!

Here is a basic pickling recipe that will get you started: Start with approximately 4 pounds of any vegetables. Combine 3 cup vinegar, preferably apple cider, but rice, white or red wine are fine too with 3 cup water, 1/4 cup non iodized sea salt! Check out Salt Farm or She Sells Sea Salts for more adventurous infused and flavored salts. Cover the vegetables with the vinegar, water and salt mixture, fill sterilized mason jars and refrigerate. Some vegetables, such as chard and leeks will need to be boiled for 5-10 minutes, before jarring.

Not so much into the whole do-it-yourself thing, then stop by the Happy Pantry booth, where they have an amazing selection of pickled veggies and salads. However you choose to get your pickling fix, we think pickling is a great way to save your summer vegetables for consumption when you long for the taste of summer!

 

FOR THE LOVE OF FRANCE

July 12, 2011 - 9:53am
Author: 
Hillary E.

BASTILLE DAY

It was less than 2 weeks ago we celebrated our national holiday; replete with farm fresh produce, grass fed meat, grilling and firework shows. Now, July 14th marks France's national holiday, Bastille Day, which also falls on the same day as the North Park Farmers' Market. What a delicious coincidence! Pay homage to our friends across the Atlantic and prepare a meal in their honor.

Visit Mary at Taste Cheese - because when we think France, cheese is the first thing that we picture - and see what French fromage offerings she has this week. A baguette from Belen Bakery, dried cherries from Smit Orchards and almonds from Hopkins AG and you've got the cheese course covered. Remember Chris' Nicoise salad? You can go traditional with good canned tuna or jump over here to see Chris' version, a San Diego inspired take using the ingredients you will find at our local markets. For dessert there's the beloved french macaroons from Lisko Imports. Crisp, delicate almond pastry shells filled with a creamy center. Enjoy a little French flair for the middle of your week.

A DAY WITHOUT MEAT

July 4, 2011 - 4:17pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

There’s a movement going on, getting people to give up meat one day a week and it’s called Meatless Mondays. The overall goal is to reduce meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of the planet by decreasing some health risks and reducing your carbon footprint. And now that the biggest grilling holiday is over it’s the perfect time to embrace the change and do your body and Earth good.

Luckily shopping at the North Park Farmers' Market hardly limits you and may even inspire new menu ideas. How about fresh corn chowder using corn from Kawano Farms, first of the season Stupice tomatoes from Suzie’s Farm and spring onions from JR Organics? Stir-fry is always a solid way to bring a ton of vegetables into a meal, and our farmers hasve so many gorgeous  vegetables right now it’s hard to choose just which ones to use. Or build your own frittata starting with eggs from Paradise Valley Ranch.

It’s only one day a week – heck it doesn’t have to be Monday, Monday just has a nice ring to it – but oh what a difference it can make!

PADRON ME

July 1, 2011 - 4:18pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

You heard right. Or maybe you even saw, the Padron peppers have made their highly anticipated return at the markets via Suzie’s Farm. These thin-skinned peppers are zippy and bright and fun to eat. Every time you dig into a batch it’s like playing a game of roulette – you never know what you’re going to get. Some are mild and smoky while the occasional one is a fiery surprise.

We like to eat ours the traditional way - blistered in a heavy skillet with a bit of olive oil from Thyme of Essence. It takes just a few minutes and when they’re all done a sprinkling of sea salt from Salt Farms is just the ticket. A nice cold drink, a hunk of cheese from Taste Cheese and a toasted ciabatta from Belen Bakery is the perfect recipe for a fun and casual dinner.

WHERE THE GRILLING IS EASY

June 24, 2011 - 4:04pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

Independence Day. The first real holiday of the summer shine with backyard BBQs, and fireworks all in celebration of the red white and blue. Get a head start on your shopping and stop by the North Park Farmers' Market this Thursday. Here's what's on our menu for the upcoming long weekend:

Shish kabobs with chunks of fresh salmon from Poppa's Fresh Fish, peppers and onions from Suzie's Farm and summer squash from JR Organics. Marinate everything in a little garlic infused olive oil from Bistro Blends, a squeeze of orange juice and a handful of herbs. A few minutes over charcoal and people will be wondering when it's time to eat.

Deviled eggs are always a party favorite. Start with eggs from Paradise Valley Ranch that you've hard boiled and cut in half. Mash the yolks in a bowl with a dollop of mayo, mustard, a splash of sherry vinegar and minced shallots. Pile the mix back into the hollowed egg white and sprinkle with a little smoked paprika sea salt blend from Salt Farm.

For dessert we're thinking a twist on the classic shortcake, but with blueberries. Smit Orchards and Hillside Farms have plump sweet berries, mix them with some sugar, a bit of water and the zest from one of R&L Farms' lemons and cook just until the berries pop and wilt. Spoon over a shortcake or biscuit and top with whipped cream. You'll be fed right this Fourth of July!

HOW SWEET IT IS

June 24, 2011 - 4:01pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

It's not just fruits and vegetables around here, folks, there's plenty to satisfy any sweet tooth you may have. Come take a stroll and discover the sweeter side of life - and the North Park Farmers Market - and what it has to offer.

Max's Honey House brings a veritable palate of honeys each week; from light as can be wild sage honey to deep dark wildflower honey. They even have honeycomb and bee pollen too. Try some drizzled over toasted sunflower bread from Belen Bakery and a smear of the new PB Peanut Butter.

Cupcakes & Beyond is our resident cupcake trailer with a menu to dazzle the taste buds. Enjoy a hazelnut chocolate cupcake or lemon buttermilk or take a half or full dozen home. They even have mini cheesecakes if that’s more your speed.

For the more naturally inclined find delicious fruit cups at Gourmet Tamales. These ladies pile a cup full of fruit and serve it up with chile and lime, so refreshing on a warm afternoon. How sweet it is!

Avo 'Nother

June 21, 2011 - 11:33am
Author: 
Catt W

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SKIN AN AVO

RIpe avocados are plentiful at the North Park Farmers' Market, with R&L Farms and Paradise Valley Ranch providing the fragile varieties with shorter seasons rarely seen in grocery stores. Peel and slice, then stack with tomatoes from Kawano Farms, crisp lettuce from JR Organics and bacon from Da Le Ranch for the best version yet of a BL(A)T. Toast a slice of sunflower flax bread from Belen Bakery and spread with mashed avocado, then add a coarse grind of Smoked Applewood Sea Salt from Salt Farm for a simple breakfast. 

Our newest way to love avocados? Grilled! Drizzle a halved avocado with a little good olive oil, place cut side down on the grill for just about a minute, and taste the transformation. Grilled avos take guacamole to a whole new level, mixed gently with chopped tomatoes, scallions and cilantro from Valdivia Farms, a squirt of farm fresh lime, and jalapenos from Suzie's Farm. Or pick up shrimp from Poppa's Fresh Fish and check out this old but great recipe from San Diego's own Food Blogga. You'll definitely want to avo 'nother serving!

 

 

 

A SOLSTICE TO REMEMBER

June 17, 2011 - 2:22pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

UNIVERSAL TRADITIONS

The Summer solstice is celebrated all around the world. The Swedes call it Midsommer; a celebration of the summer solstice and the longest day of sunlight all year long . A traditional event that revolves mostly around friends and food, Midsommer can easily be translated into a good time anywhere.

The basic idea is to celebrate the flavors of summer and the bounty of the markets at this time of year and the North Park Farmer's Market has plenty to share. Start your own midsummer tradition and toss some of Kawano Farm's sweet white corn in a salad with some chopped dill from Suzie's Farm and tomatoes from Valdivia. Grill halved avocados from Paradise Valley Ranch and made a smokier version of guacamole. While you're at it, add some bacon from Da Le Ranch and cilantro and lime too. A fruit salad of Smit Orchard's peaches and berries from Hillside and you've got summer in San Diego fully represented.

We may not spend our winters in almost perpetual darkness and snow, but we still love a good celebration of the sun. Why not start with the Summer Solstice Social at Suzie's Farm this Saturday?

SOMETHING FISHY IN NORTH PARK

June 3, 2011 - 3:15pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

YOU'LL BE HOOKED

No, there's nothing suspicious about the new seafood offerings at the North Park Farmers' Market but you have every reason to get reeled into the excitement!

Poppa's Fresh Fish will now be shucking oysters and serving up fresh sea urchins for your enjoyment every Thursday. You can eat the sea urchins at the market or take them home, served in their shells they make a dramatic and gorgeous presentation. Newcomer Ceviche Shack is serving it up with a smile. Inspired by a lifetime of vacations and trips to Baja, the ceviche here is tangy and fresh with just a little kick. Perfect for topping tostadas, scooping with tortilla chips and enjoying on sunny afternoons. And for something truly decadent, order a crab cake sandwich from the Devilicious truck and find out just how devilishly delightful their food really is.

LEAN GREEN PROTEIN

June 3, 2011 - 2:00pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

GRASS FED BEEF

June 3rd marked the first day of the first annual Grass Fed Beef Week here in San Diego and the North Park Farmers' Market is proud to have a grass fed beef vendor of our own. Da Le Ranch. Though not exclusively grass fed, the beef at Da Le Ranch is pastured and occasionally supplemented with hay when the grass pickings are slim, making for some tasty - and responsibly raised - meat.

Organizers of this week-long event describe it as offering "opportunities for foodies, the health conscious, and beef lovers looking for sustainable options to enjoy the unadulterated flavor that grass fed beef brings to the table, along with the nutritional benefits of lower fat and increased omega-3 fatty acids." With 6 restaurants and Whole Foods Hillcrest all participating you'll find specials featuring the "green" protein around town for you to sample and appreciate.

So after you fill your bags and baskets with fruits, veggies and more from favorites like Suzie's Farm, R&L Farms and JR Organics, Springhill Cheese and Lisko Imports, head down the street a bit to The Linkery or El Take It Easy for deliciously prepared specials featuring grass fed beef. Keeping it local, delicious and sustainable.

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