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North Park Farmers' Market Blog


July 5, 2012 - 12:09pm
Chris S.

Find fresh, fragrant dill at the North Park Farmers’ Market, perfect for lending its flavor to pickled cucumbers, and also delicious on fresh cucumbers, carrots, onions or tomatoes. Pick up potatoes from Proios Farms for a dilled potato salad, or take home pastured eggs from Paradise Valley Ranch and try dill deviled eggs. Buy a big bag of pickling cucumbers from JR Organics. Tatse Cheese has Psychedillic dill pollen-infused chevre today; use it to fill sticks of celery from Suzie’s Farm for a quick appetizer. We used a farm fresh chicken from Da Le Ranch for this lemon dill roast chicken, but you could also kick up a roasted chicken from Rollswisserie before you reheat for 10 minutes in a hot oven. We served ours with a side of summer squash from Kawano Farms sauteed with more dill; it was dillicious! 


June 27, 2012 - 3:35pm
Chris S.

Padron peppers from Suzie’s Farm at the North Park Farmers’ Market are a bit of a gamble; nine out of ten padrons are nice, mild peppers with a slightly snappy taste, but the tenth is a scorcher that will really wake up your taste buds! Toss them in olive oil, sear them in a hot skillet until the skin blisters, and sprinkle with sea salt for a classic Spanish style tapa. If you need reliably hot heat, try their serrano peppers or some mixed hot peppers from Proios Family Farms; mix with tomatoes, cilantro and onion from Valdivia Farms in a summer salsa fresca. If sweet is more your style, try this recipe using pale yellow antohi Hungarian peppers; stuff them with Springhill Cheese goat cheese and spinach from JR Organics, drizzle with serrano chile honey balsamic from The California Olive. Green bells are also in season. Need more ideas on how to use these sweet and spicy treats? Stop by the market and feel free to pepper us with questions!

Fresh and Squeezy!

June 13, 2012 - 8:16pm
Chris S

Cool off the summer nights by squeezing fresh citrus from the North Park Farmers’ Market.  Bearss limes (also known as Tahiti Limes) from Paradise Valley Ranch, have a slightly spicy, fragrant aroma that makes a delicious limeade, especially with few crushed mint leaves from Suzie’s Farm. They'd also be great for these Indian Lime Pickles. In fact, if you get these into production, please take our Vendor 101 class and let us help you establish a creative pickle booth at local farmers' markets. But we digress. We were talking about citrus.

Oro blancos from Gilbert Quintos are a hybrid of grapefruits and pomelos that are sweeter, lower in acidity and lack the characteristic bitterness of other grapefruits.  Juice a couple for breakfast. If R&L Farms gives you Eureka lemons, make lemonade!  Sweeten it with orange blossom honey from Meljess Bees for a great flavor; add pureed strawberries from JR Organics or blackberries and blueberries from Smit for a splash of color.  Take it squeezy!

Basil Dazzle

May 17, 2012 - 6:17am
Chris S


Buy fresh sweet basil from Suzie’s Farm or Valdivia Farm at the North Park Farmers’ Market and lend its lovely aroma to fruit, vegetable, cheese and pasta dishes each Thursday. You’re probably already imagining ripe tomatoes from JR Organics mixed with chopped basil and spread over bruschetta of toasted slices Belen Bakery’s ciabatta rubbed with California Olive new truffle oil. What says summer like simple plates of basil, tomatoes and sinful fresh burrata from Taste Cheese? Try fresh linguine from Lisko Imports topped with homemade basil pesto.

Basil also gets friendly with fresh summer fruits: try a salad of fresh greens from Maciel Farm topped with sliced peaches from Smit Orchards, a little chevre from Nicolau Farms and a healthy handful of freshly chopped basil. Use strawberries from Kawano Farm and Eureka lemons from Paradise Valley Ranch in this strawberry-basil lemonade or add an apple for this summery Sangria. Basil’s in season throughout the summer, so add a little basil-dazzle to dinner tonight!

Nopales? Yes, pa-leese!

April 26, 2012 - 7:29am
Chris S

Visit Gilbert Quintos farm at the North Park Farmers’ Market for fresh nopales, the tender, edible shoots of the nopal cactus that are also known as prickly pear.  Look for flat green pads about the size of your hand, and be careful; the sharp spines may still be attached!  If they are, use a vegetable peeler to remove them. Then brush them with a little olive oil and throw them on the  grill, about five minutes on each side; enjoy them in a taco with grilled green onions from Kawano Farm, or serve them with a grass fed strip steak from DaLe Ranch.  

To enjoy nopales in a salad or scrambled into farm fresh eggs form Paradise Valley Ranch, first cut them into strips, cook them in simmering water for about twenty minutes and allow them to cool. They have a little of the slimy quality of okra, so you may want to rinse and add fresh salted water halfway through. Then toss them with any of your favorite vegetables like radishes and tomatoes, from JR Organics or Valdivia Farms, and top with a sliced avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime. Pick up sweet potatoes from Proios Farm and try this lovely salad. Say yes to nopales this Thursday!

Grin and Carrot

March 28, 2012 - 2:12pm
Chris S


Crunchy carrots from Kawano, Suzie’s Farm and JR Organics at the North Park Farmers’ Market make the perfect snack anytime, whether you dunk them in raw garlic spread from Majestic Garlic, hummus from Lisko or Baba Foods, or any of the delicious Bitchin’ Sauce flavors.

Toss shredded carrots with  olive oil from the California OIive,  a squeeze of fresh lemon from Gilbert Quintos or Paradise Valley and a little mustard for a classic French carrot salad; add apples, almonds and raisins from Smit Orchards to give it an American twist (but skip drowning them in mayo ala the old school cafeteria version).  

If you’d rather cook  your carrots, try this gorgeous vegetable ribbon pasta recipe; you’ll want to add zucchini from Valdivia Farms, mushrooms from Kawano and butter from Springhill Cheese Company to your shopping list.  Don’t overlook the carrots’ edible green tops; grab some green garlic from Suzie’s and almonds from Hopins AG and whip up this carrot top pesto to spread on ciabatta from Belen Bakery or, better yet, drizzle it over homemade carrot soup.  That’s a bowl of 24 carrot gold!

Lettuce Gather

March 8, 2012 - 9:14am
Chris S


Tender red and green leaf, buttery Bibb, crisp romaine, and gorgeous Galactic are just some of the lettuces found at the North Park Farmers’ Market from Gilbert Quintos, JR Organics and Suzie’s Farm. Not just for salads anymore, these garden fresh greens can play multiple roles in your next dinner party. With its deep red wine color, slightly bitter flavor, and generously large leaves, galactic lettuce is perfect for an appetizer of lettuce wraps filled with braised beef from DaLe Ranch.  

Firm and crunchy romaine lettuce can take the heat, so slice a head in half, brush it with olive oil and grill it over hot coals - you’ll love the slightly smoky flavor, and it’s even better if you top it with a crumble of Parmigiano reggiano from Taste Cheese.  Think outside the box and try lettuce soup - it’s different and delicious, and a perfect way to use up any leftover lettuce hanging around the back of your refrigerator.  

If it is salad you're serving, there’s an endless list of toppings available at the market - will you pick up olives from Lisko Imports, dates from Morocco Gold, winter hoop-house tomatoes from Valdivia Farms or apples and almonds from Smit Orchards? Come by the North Park Farmers’ Market on Thursday and lettuce give you some more ideas!

Make a Date With Destiny

February 29, 2012 - 6:15pm
Chris S

Make a date with Morocco Gold at the North Park Farmers’ Market and savor the flavor of their decadently sweet and delicious medjool dates.  With a taste of brown sugar and a hint of spice, dates have a favorite farmers’ market crop for about 6,000 years! Fill them with your favorite bleu from Taste Cheese and wrap with bacon for a classic date starter, or pick up poultry from DaLe Ranch and almonds from Hopkins Ag or Smit Orchards to try this roast chicken with date and almond stuffing.   Morocco Gold also makes a fantastic date jam that pairs perfectly with locally made Pacific Beach Peanut Butter and fresh bread from Belen Bakery.  You can find a recipe for Palm Springs style date shakes and lots of other great date ideas from San Diego writer Susan Russo here.   We’ll see you Thursday at North Park Farmers’ market - it’s a date!


Fondues and Fon-Don'ts

February 16, 2012 - 6:03pm
Chris S

Fondue is the classic Swiss dish of melted cheese with wine, served in a communal pot with all kinds of delicious treats for dipping and perfect for this week's chilly nights. The North Park Farmers' Market has all the ingredients you need, and here are a few tips to make your fondue fun:

DO start with great cheeses. Stop by Taste Cheese and pick up great cave aged Gruyere from the mountains of Switzerland, and maybe a tub of their signature Shredded Blend, or try Springhill Cheese Company’s Old World Portuguese.
DO serve crunchy vegetables like bright purple carrots, crisp celery and French radishes from J.R. Organics; romanesco cauliflower from Suzie’s Farm; or zucchini from Valdivia Farm.
DO include some roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts, parsnips or mushrooms from Proios or Kawano Farm.

DON'T forget a loaf or two of fresh bread from Belen Artisan Bakers for cubing and dipping.
DON'T be afraid to add your own touch to the flavor, perhaps by using apple or cherry cider from Smit instead of (or along with) the traditional wine or Kirsch.  
DON'T skip the salad - a simple plate of farm fresh greens with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of California Olive Oil is all you need to compliment your fondue. 

Ready, Set, Dunk!


Spread the Joy o' Cherimoya

February 1, 2012 - 6:48pm
Chris S


Mark Twain called it “the most delicious fruit known to men,” while others have compared its flavor to a blend of pineapple, banana, peach, papaya and strawberry. R&L Farms has plenty of fresh cherimoyas at the North Park market, but the season is short so stock up today. The creamy white flesh of a ripe cherimoya has the rich consistency of custard and a decadent tropical aroma. 

If you’re an immigrant to San Diego (like me), you might not have seen this delicious fruit before; almost all the plantings in the United States are right here in this county.  Look for a light green fruit, about the size of an avocado, with indentations that look like thumbprints; from a distance you might mistake it for an artichoke. Pick one that feels slightly soft if you’ll be eating it today - both the taste and texture triumph only when the fruit is perfectly ripe.  Choose firmer fruit if it will be on your shelf for a few days.

Spoon the tasty treat right from the pale green skin, and enjoy it straight up or dress it in the Mexican style by adding a squeeze of lime from Paradise Valley Ranch.  Hmmm, why not try a squeeze of navel orange or even tangelo for something very Californian?  Another great way to appreciate the fragrant fruit is to scoop it atop a bowl of freshly sliced strawberries from Kawano farms - think of it as a vegan version of yogurt with fruit. Or get fancy with this Cherimoya Soup recipe with apple juice from Smit Orchards and honey from Meljess Bees. You'll enjoy-a your cherimoya!