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January 27, 2013 - 9:11pm
Christopher S.

Get back to your root vegetables at the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers’ Market with carrots from Kawano Farm or beets from Maciel Farm. Try turnips from Suzie’s Farm, JR Organics’ parsnips, or kohlrabi from Gilbert Quintos Farm.

Toss your favorites with Basil Garlic Parmesan Oil from Bistro Blends for roasted root vegetables, or combine beets with chevre from Nicolau Goat Farm and Hopkins AG pistachios in this gorgeous Napoleon. Go raw with root vegetable slaw or get warm with spicy roasted parsnips (featuring apples from Smit Orchards).

Pick up a pastured bird from Descanso Valley Ranch for this one pot chicken with roasted vegetables, or try these delicious baked root veggie chips that are perfect for dipping in Bitchin’ Sauce.

Celebrate your roots!


December 3, 2012 - 10:30am
Christopher S.

Find natural, local, pastured chickens and eggs at the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers’ Market. Descanso Valley Ranch is home to birds that meet the prestigious French label rouge standards for quality - you’ll definitely notice the deeper, richer flavor of the meat. Roast it simply with salt, pepper, and fresh savory herbs from JR Organics, or make a big batch of chicken soup - you don’t have to wait ‘til you catch a cold to enjoy it!

The hens at Paradise Valley Ranch roam the avocado orchards by day and enjoy a diet of grass, bugs, and the occasional fallen fruit while they simultaneously provide natural fertilizer to the trees. Their eggs have sunny golden yolks and an incomparable taste. Combine them with persimmons from Smit Orchards or Gilbert Quintos Farm and a country French loaf from Belen Bakery in this amazing persimmon bread pudding.

Happy hens lay great eggs!


October 10, 2012 - 1:07pm
Christopher S.

Go nuts at the Little Italy Mercato Farmers' Market! Hopkins AG brings a wide variety of dry roasted almonds, along with 100% pure almond butter- try a smear of on your sprouted wheat bread from Belen Bakery toast in the morning for a champion's breakfast. Toss slivered almonds in a salad like this; using the beet stems or a bowl of torn watercress from Suzie's Farm instead of romaine, goat cheese feta from Nicolau Farm and roasted yellow beets from Proios Farm. Feeling extra nutty? Grab a bag of gala apples from Lone Oak Ranch and dip in a jar of your favorite flavored PB Peanut Butter!

Gilbert Quintos Family Farm has fresh picked macadamia nuts by the basket. These seasonal tree nuts have tough shells to crack, but Gilbert opens them up before he loads up the baskets, saving you the trouble. Feeling perplexed about nuts at farmers' markets? Check out a little back-story on these protein-rich treats here.


July 18, 2012 - 12:17pm
Chris S.

Fresh okra is here at African Sisters, Proios Farm and JR Organics at the North Park Thursday Farmers’ Market! Try tossing a few lightly with California Olive oil, grill quickly on a hot grill, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and eat! For fans of Cajun and Creole cuisine, okra season means gumbo time. Lucky for you, the North Park Farmers’ Market is loaded with great ingredients for the perfect bowl. Find onion and garlic at Proios Farm, celery and cayenne peppers at Suzie’s Farm, green onion at Valdivia Farm and tomatoes at Kawano Farms. DaLe Ranch has naturally raised chicken and the Meat Men supply spicy fresh and cured sausage. If you’re new to gumbo, learn some technique and check out a recipe, but remember the key is to use great ingredients and have fun! 


April 13, 2012 - 4:31pm
Chris S

Ruby red rhubarb from Gilbert Quintos Farm adds a dash of color to the Little Italy Mercato farmers' market this week.  Look for long, thin stalks that resemble celery but with a characteristic crimson color and large, red ribbed leaves at the end.  

Botanically speaking, rhubarb is a vegetable, but it’s often regarded as a fruit due its sweet-tart flavor that makes it a favorite in desserts.  It’s traditionally known as “The Pie Plant” because of its popularity as a  pie filling, where it excels alone or in combination with strawberries from Kawano or JR Organics, or apples from Smit Orchards.  It’s also  great in Susan Russo's Rhubard Crumble using Pudwill berries, tarts, muffins, or a cheesecake made with fresh quark from Springhill Cheese Company.  

Lime 'Em Up!

January 20, 2012 - 5:30pm
Julie SR

Buying citrus at the Little Italy Mercato means oranges at Lone Oak Ranch and Meyer lemons from Polito Farms, but are limes also in your picture? This versatile fruit is more than a garnish for gin and tonics or fish tacos. Add it to your food and drink arsenal for a nice one-two punch of savory flavor and bright citrus tones. Gilbert Quintos has them, and Paradise Valley Ranch offers limes along with their stunning avocado selection for a head start on guacamole.

Using a little pressure, roll limes around in your hands or on your cutting board before you cut into them, and the juice will be released with ease.

Lime and poultry makes a winning combination. Marinate your Spur Valley Ranch chicken in lime juice, a glug of Marion’s Olive Oil, some onions and heirloom garlic from Sage Mountain Farms, and salt and pepper to taste. While it's roasting, whip up a batch of Brazil’s national drink, the Caipirinha. Cut a lime into eighths and mash it up with a tablespoon of sugar in a tall glass. Top with white rum, add ice and be whisked away to a beach in Rio. Once you get the hang of how varied this little green fruit can be, you’ll be lime-ing up to buy more.

Back in Balance

November 30, 2011 - 4:22pm
Catt W

We're guessing you spent Thanksgiving taking time to acknowledge gratitude for family and friends, the relative comfort and safety we live in, and our many other blessings. Just looking around the North Park Farmers' Market makes us thankful for harvest abundance.

So often though, the holiday seems tied to gluttony. If you overate last week, you're not alone. But it's simple to tip the scales back by lightening up this week. Take a quick trip to the farmers' market on Thursday to get some fresh air, enjoy the live music and shop for the ingredients to get your eating back on track.

Pick up a jug of Green Fix and sip a fresh green smoothie for breakfast. Use any last turkey leftovers to make a Cobb Salad for lunch, with hard-boiled farm fresh eggs and avocado from Paradise Valley Ranch on a bed of leafy greens and tomatoes from JR Organics with a light creamy dressing made with Springhill Farms' Quark. Grill a lean piece of chicken from Da Le Ranch for dinner, with some steamed baby squash from Valdivia Family Farm and new cauliflower from Suzie's Farm. Enjoy a baked apple from R&L Farms for dessert. See? All back in balance.


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


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!


March 11, 2011 - 12:18pm
Hillary E.

Have you stopped by the Rancho Mexico Lindo booth at the Little Italy Mercato yet? It’s pretty hard to miss with the sweet smell of guava lingering in the air as you pass by, beckoning you closer. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical island. The whole guava fruit is edible, but most people scoop out the seeds before eating. Try the white-fleshed guavas for a smoother, mellower experience or the pink-fleshed guavas for a more assertive flavor. The guava jam is perfect on french toast made from Belen Bakery's brioche or as a glaze on grilled chicken kabobs from DaLe Ranch.

But that’s not all! Right now Rancho Mexico Lindo also brings sweet Cara Cara oranges - a type of navel orange with a rosy colored inside and sweet low-acid juice – and organic blood oranges in the deepest shades of purple. It’s a little piece of paradise right in your own neighborhood backyard.


March 3, 2011 - 3:20pm
Hillary E.


Did you know that Carnevale translated literally means “farewell meat”? This Saturday evening Little Italy is celebrating Carnevale, a last festival before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Coincidentally, some folks are taking the Meatless March challenge and trying a vegetarian diet this month.

So if you’re planning on giving up steaks and other meats come shop the Little Italy Mercato Saturday morning to pick up your responsibly raised and all natural cuts before it’s “farewell” for 40 days. DaLe Ranch has chickens to roast, braise and otherwise enjoy as you see fit (and don’t forget to save the bones and leftover meat to make stock!). DaLe and SonRise Ranch both bring excellent selections of meat for grilling and stewing to keep you cozy on chilly nights. Pair them with roasted beets from Suzie’s Farm and JR Organics or a spinach salad from Sage Mountain and send them off in style.

If you’re eating at the market get your beef or pork BBQ fix from Ranchwood Deli, some carnitas tacos from Chop Sooey or the ever-popular turkey chili from Montana’s. After the market, visit Po Pazzo for their signature Italian ribeye or Buon Appetito for Osso Bucco.

Are you giving anything up?

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