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North Park Farmers' Market Blog

WHEELING AND DINING

May 6, 2011 - 12:59pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

THE FOOD TRUCKS ARE HERE

They're hip, they're cool and they're the darlings of the food scene right now. The food trucks are rolling into the North Park Farmers' Market during the month of May and so should you. Banish the memories of unappealing greasy food served out of generic trucks parked outside construction sites, these mobile kitchens bring street cred to eating out. They're making food with innovative twists on classic dishes and using farm fresh foods to help them out. We couldn't think of a better way to grab a bite to eat while shopping for your weekly veggies, fruit, meat, cheese and flowers.

Last week it was Chop Soo.ey, MangiaMangia and Two for the Road bringing the mobile eats. Want to see who's coming up next? Do like the food trucks do and follow us on twitter, @SDMarkets to stay up to date with the happenings at the market and stay in the know.

Refresher Course

April 29, 2011 - 1:12pm
Author: 
Hillary E

REFRESHER COURSE

Agua Frescas are a great way to capture the sweet flavors of the season in a pitcher.  Simply puree your farm-fresh fruit (or other fresh produce) with a little water, a squeeze of lime and maybe a dash of sugar in a blender and strain.  A 4:1 ratio of water to fruit works well, but adjusting for your taste is easy. Adding fresh herbs will kick things up even more.

At the Adams Avenue Farmer’s Market, start by choosing Kawano Farms Strawberries and a little basil from Suzie’s Farm.  Guavas from Rancho Mexico Lindo with a little extra lime  from Paradise Valley Ranch will make a sweet-tart mixture that's sure to refresh.

Over at the North Park Farmer’s Market, JR Organics has what you need for the classic cucumber lime rendition or a sweeter strawberry mint batch.  Or squeeze the juice from R&L Farms oranges into the blender with a few sprigs of Suzie’s Farm cilantro for an interesting twist. Serving these in a glass rimmed with ginger infused sea salts from Salt Farm  and a wedge of your favorite citrus will dress your frescas to impress!

 

Cinco de Farm-o

April 29, 2011 - 12:47pm
Author: 
Hillary E

LET THE FIESTA BEGIN!

Whether you’re stopping by for a festive nosh, or picking up some farm fresh finishing touches for your party, make the North Park Farmers’ Market your go-to spot for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Find chils and salsa and fresh tamales full of local ingredients from Gourmet Tamales, and Salvadorean Pupusas ready made and delicious.  For at-home cookin’ Poppa’s got fresh fish for making fish tacos and Ranchwood Deli has pulled pork ready for a carnitas variation; try them on Don Tommy's jalapeno tortillas smeared with a little vegan chipotle Bitchin’ Sauce for a spicy modern Latin kick.  Slice some grilled chicken from Da Le Ranch and lay it over a bed of Suzie’s Farm lettuce, top with avocados from Paradise Valley Ranch, tomatoes from Valdivia Farms, and any other veggies that catch your eye you’ve got a new twist on taco salad.  Olé!

Going for great guacamole? Avocados are ripe and ready from Paradise Valley or R&L Farms. Cut avos into chunks and mash slightly with a squirt of farm-fresh lime, some chopped tomatoes and cilantro from Valdivia Farms, garlic from Suzie's Farm and spring onions from JR Organics. Just add margaritas!

 

FABULOUS FOOD

April 22, 2011 - 3:14pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

FRESH AND DIRECT

The days are getting longer and we can think of no better way to spend those extra daylight hours than shopping and strolling the North Park Farmers' Market. Come join your neighbors as they mingle with chefs, farmers and purveyors. Frenchie's Crepes and Salvadorean Pupusas are the perfect stop for an exciting after work meal when you're too tired to cook. Do like the local chefs do and create your own market pasta with help from Lisko Imports and a saute of the latest veggies from R&L Farms, maybe some grilled and sliced chicken from Da La Ranch too? Poppa's got your fresh fish for tacos, perfect when kicked up with a dollop of chipotle Bitchin' Sauce. Grab some strawberries from JR Organics, oranges from Paradise Valley and apples from Smit Orchards to make a simple fruit salad. Come and enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and endless possibilities!

EGG-CELLENT IDEAS

April 15, 2011 - 1:16pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

CRAFTY VEGGIES


Here's an Easter project the whole family can get in on; all natural egg dyeing! This year forget the dye tablets, instead head to the refrigerator and pantry. Did you know you can dye your Easter eggs using ingredients you probably already have at home, perhaps using up some of those extra veggies you have languishing in the crisper drawer? Pick up a dozen or so eggs from Lisko or Paradise Valley and let the fun begin.

Beets will make pink, orange zest or turmeric will make yellow, coffee makes brown, purple cabbage will make blue, and that's just the beginning. We've found a couple of helpful guides, here and here, to get you started. There's even instructions on how you can use the papery outer layer of onion skins (start saving them!) to create a marbled textured look.

All natural eggs and all natural dyes, what a delight!

 

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CARROT TOP

April 8, 2011 - 4:42pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

FRILLS AND ALL

If you've ever nibbled curiously on the delicate leaves of carrots before you know they're a bit bitter so a little goes a long way, but think of them as an herb. A perfect accent to the sweetness of roasted root vegetables, sprinkled over salads or added into soups. Or, try this out:

Simply scrub clean a good bunch of carrots - Suzie's, JR Organics or Valdivia can help you out there - and trim all but 1/2 inch of the green tops off. If the carrots are on the larger side, slice in half or leave smaller ones whole. Finely chop a tablespoon or so of the delicate carrot tops and set aside. Heat a tablespoon of CA olive oil from Thyme of Essence in a heavy skillet and lay carrots down in a single layer. Let them brown and caramelize on one side before shaking the pan and repeating with the other side. Now add a few cloves of minced garlic and continue to shake until the carrots have softened but still have a bit of crunch. Add a tiny bit of butter, the chopped greens and sprinkle of shallot sea salt from Salt Farms.

BLOOM AND GROW

April 8, 2011 - 2:54pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

BLOOM AND GROW

Have you noticed your favorite farmers are looking a little fuller these days? We're hitting the up swing of harvest season and new crops are just taking off. We're saying so long to the broccoli and deep green hues of winter and hello to the colorful bounty that's fast taking over. Find tiny sweet strawberries at JR Organics alongside their tender lettuce mixes. The squash blossoms and baby vegetables at Valdivia are as irresistible as always. Suzie's has sweet sugar snap peas and carrots in every color of the rainbow - well, almost. And the juicy Valencia oranges from Paradise Valley never get old; neither do their avocados for that matter. Not colorful enough? Grab some flowers from Maldonado and watch spring blossom in your very own home!

SHOP SAVVY

April 1, 2011 - 2:54pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

Your local farmer’s market can be a hidden gem for the frugal shopper. You buy your food directly from the farms that grew it – no middleman driving prices higher - and each step brings you to the discovery of new bounty. We know there’s budget minded shoppers out there looking for the best deals and we’re here to help you make the most of future visits to the North Park and Adams Avenue Farmers’ Markets.

 

  • Shop around, explore and buy at peak season: It’s always good to take a stroll through the market before buying; see who has what and for how much. When produce is at its peak the price will be lower due to abundance.
  • Make friends with the vendors and be a frequent shopper: Ask questions about the farm, the food and the business. The better you know your vendors the more likely you are to find out about specials or get insider info on the tastiest items.
  • Come with a list, but be flexible: Shopping with a list is always helpful in maintaining a budget, but be willing to change or swap items for better deals you may find. If you’re unsure how to use the new purchase, ask the vendor for preparation suggestions. Have an idea of what you want to spend and stick to it.
  • Join a CSA: A lot of the community supported agriculture (CSA) programs out there have pick-up locations at farmer’s markets and are incredibly affordable to boot! When you get your box, take a peek inside and since you’re already at the market you can easily shop around for whatever else you might need for the week.
     
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RELISH THE THOUGHT

March 31, 2011 - 1:06pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

Being in Southern California, we're lucky to have citrus and avocados at our disposal year-round. The varieties may change with the season - Reed avocados and navel oranges in the summer, Haas avocados and blood oranges in the winter - but still they're in the markets. And what better way to enjoy and celebrate this continuous bounty than to have them together, in a single bowl of relish/salsa goodness? None better we say! We'll help you with the shopping list, then head over here to get the recipe.

Here's what you'll need from the North Park Farmer's Market: grab a few avocados and limes for juicing along with a handful of oranges at Paradise Valley, some cilantro from Valdivia and finally green onions from JR Organics. You'll need a few more things, like a small red onion and a jalapeno from Suzie's Farm but then you're on your way to greatness. Serve the salsa over grilled fish from Poppa's Fresh Fish or have it as a snack with some tortilla chips.

AN ORGANIC DECISION

March 25, 2011 - 2:18pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

Buying all organic all the time isn't always an option for most consumers. But sometimes buying organic means making the healthier choice. Enter The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen.

No, they're not the latest incarnation of the 3 Musketeers but rather a list compiled by the Environmental Working Group distinguishing the worst pesticide offenders in produce from the cleanest. The handy lists were created to help consumers know when it's necessary to buy organic and when it's not. So here for you, are the 12 best reasons to shop at your favorite local farmer's market - whether it be North Park Farmer's Market or Adam's Avenue Farmer's Market - and what you should be buying organic:

celery
peaches
strawberries
apples
blueberries
nectarines
bell peppers
spinach, kale and collard greens
cherries
potatoes
grapes
lettuce

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