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July 31, 2012 - 12:17pm
Chris S.

Spice up your night with salsa fresca made from North Park Thursday Farmers’ Market ingredients, great on grilled meats and veggies, or for dipping.

Start your shopping at Valdivia Farms, where you’ll find tomatoes, green onion and cilantro, then head across the aisle to Proios Family Farm for fresh garlic, sweet bell peppers and spicy chiles including jalapenos and habaneros. JR Organics has red and yellow onions and a dazzling array of heirloom tomatoes, but be sure to ask about tomatillos - they make an excellent salsa verde. Toss in other fresh vegetables like cucumbers, radishes, and banana peppers from African Sisters Farm, or add more complexity to your salsa by including sweet antohi peppers, poblanos or padrons from Suzie’s Farm.

Like sweet salsas? Grab a bunch of grapes from Smit Orchard and try this grape salsa recipe. Diced green tomatoes from Kawano Farm add a little tartness to any salsa, as does a squeeze of fresh lime from Paradise Valley Ranch or R&L Farms. If you don’t have time to make your own, pick up freshly made salsa from Gourmet Tamales. If you’re happier on the dance floor than in the kitchen, spice up your exercise schedule with a salsa dancing lesson at the Queen Bee Art & Cultural Center

Home (Decor) for the Holidays

December 7, 2011 - 4:00pm
Julie R


When you live in a climate where winter clothes = long sleeved t-shirts, sometimes the winter wonderland feeling doesn’t kick in easily, but get into the holiday spirit now by shopping at the North Park Farmers market! 

Pick up bunches of holly from Maldonado Growers to hang on your door or put in a big vase and decorate like a little Christmas tree. Buy their evergreen garlands to hang above your fireplace or wrap around the banister on your stairs. Not much of a decorator? Just place a potted poinsettia by the door and let those red flowers exorcise the Grinch in anyone.

Get a wreath made from red chilies and organic flowers from JR Organics to show the world that you are in the holiday spirit and proudly support local farmers and farmers' markets.  Pile chilis or red apples from Smit Orchards in a pretty basket from Paradise Valley Ranch and use as a centerpiece for your next dinner party.

Keeping it subtle? Pick a nice little succulent from John Gilruth and tie a ribbon around the pot, set it on your desk and ease on into the holiday spirit! Stack persimmons in a tall vase on the mantel, or use a pretty bouquet of red gladioli to make a statement and make yourself at home for the holidays. 


Side Ways Toward Thanksgiving

November 16, 2011 - 3:56pm
Julie R


Thanksgiving is almost upon us; this Thursday’s North Park Farmers Market is exactly a week before the holiday.  Before we hit the patch of black ice that is Black Friday, latke parties, and tree trimming, sending us skidding into the December Holidays, focus on this celebratory meal. While your farm-fresh Da-Le Ranch turkey may take the lead, this meal’s side dishes take more than a supporting role. Make it yours by serving up some signature sides that are not in your momma’s arsenal.

Savory bread pudding is sure to be a show-stopper and once you have the core bread and pudding, the world is your oyster. Whisk together 6 Paradise Valley Ranch eggs, 2 cups milk, salt and pepper. Throw in a pound of soft Belen bread, cubed, and a half pound of grated gruyere from Taste Cheese; that’s is your blank canvas.  Sauté 1 to 2 pounds of peeled squash from your favorite farmer and a chopped onion, sprinkle with sage from Suzie’s Farm, let cool, toss with the bread mixture and bake at 350 for 55 minutes. Or try it with 2 pounds of sautéed mushrooms from Rodney Kawano Farms mixed with garlic, parsley, and thyme. Try oven roasted tomatoes and garlic or sautéed kale and mushrooms; there’s no end to savory combinations.

Want to lighten up the mashed potatoes? Add some Valdavia farms turnips peeled and boiled for about 10 minutes more than your potatoes.  Drain them, add some Springhill Dairy European butter and mash out any frustrations of your day.

Round out the meal with an antioxidant rich carrot and orange roast. Cut up 2 pounds of JR Organics trimmed carrots and cut an unpeeled orange from John Gilruth or Paradise Valley Ranch into 8 pieces.  Toss it all in 2 tablespoons of Bari olive oil and 2 tablespoons of Meljess Wildflower Honey, some salt and pepper, and roast in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes.  Serve with a sprinkle of Suzie’s Farm chopped dill. 

First time cooking? Don’t agonize over taking over the Thanksgiving meal reins from someone who’s been doing this meal by rote, just live by this mantra: “The secret is in the sides” and serve to impress!


Fennel is for Lovers

November 7, 2011 - 10:41am
Britta T

Fennel is that gorgeous, stalky frond that grows rampant throughout San Diego- A weed, but a treasure none the less, this root vegetable will capture your heart over and over again with new recipes. Find bulbs and fronds of friendly fennel and more this week as you shop at the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers' Market.

Normally fennel tastes like the love child of celery and licorice. Roasting, however, brings out complex flavors and satiates our cravings for warm, tender food now with winter's return. Select a few stalks from Suzie's Farm this week and simply chop the bulb into quarters, then coat the pieces with a healthy dose of oil (have you tried the avocado oil from California Olive Oil?). Toss with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven until the outsides begin to crisp, leaving the insides warm and tender. 

For a flashier meal- experiment with this Yellowtail & Fennel Crudo recipe from Chef Brian Sinnot- An elegant, yet simple dish with fresh fennel, pomegranate seeds, and mint. Sift through the ruby round pomegranates at Lone Oak Ranch or pick out a prize from John Gilruth. You can find fresh yellowtail or other filets with Miss Sushi, and Suzie's Farm has tiny, fragrant bunches of wild mint...


Happy National Farmers Market Week

August 10, 2011 - 7:52am
Carolyn K

It's National Farmers Market Week (August 8th-13th), giving you  a great reason to celebrate the amazing local markets that supply you with fresh, in-season produce grown by family farmers.  And, offering us a reason to recognize the  broader impact that farmers markets are having on the communities that they serve.
According to the USDA ,  more than 1,000 new farmers markets  have popped up around America last year, bringing the total in the 2011 National Farmers Market Directory to 7,175 — a 17 % jump over last year.    California has 729 markets,  the largest number of farmers markets in the US, and San Diego currently houses 54 weekly markets.  While unemployment hovers at record levels this summer, entrepreneurship is thriving in those markets .   Our  farmers markets are growing jobs and strengthening local and regional economies.  Additionally, research shows that farmers markets spur spending at neighboring businesses. 
The growth of local farmers markets not only directly benefits local economies;   it also promotes healthier eating habits. People who shop at farmers markets tend to come home with more fruits and vegetables in their shopping bags. Expansion of local farmers markets may ultimately help reduce health care costs from obesity and other health problems linked to a diet dominated by processed foods.  So celebrate this week by visiting our three farmers markets and recognize that locally grown food is not only good for your taste buds—it creates jobs, keeps money in local economies, promotes community development, and can reduce the environmental and public health costs of the food we eat!


We're Sweet on Sweet Peppers

August 5, 2011 - 4:48pm
Carolyn K


A plethora of peppers have hit the North Park Farmers Market!  With so many shapes and colors to choose from, we thought that a quick primer on peppers was in order.  First, differently colored peppers are not different peppers at all! Typically, they signify various stages of growth and maturity. A green pepper is just a red pepper that hasn’t fully ripened.  Next, what gives the pepper it's heat is a chemical called capsicum.  Peppers that do not contain capsicum such as bell peppers, are considered sweet.
Now that you're schooled on peppers, here are some of the infinite ways you can cook with them.  One of our favorite dishes is Nicolau Farms chevre stuffed roasted peppers finished with Thyme of Essence dried thyme . Another dish that shouldn't be missed is chile rellanos!  Roast any of the multitude of peppers, now available at Suzie's or Paradise Valley, remove the charred skins, fill with Springhill Garlic Jack Cheese, coat with flour and fry! Finally,  we think that the combination of sweet peppers and JR Organics heirloom tomatoes in a sweet pepper and heirloom gazpacho  goes together just like salt and pepper!

Cool as a Cucumber

July 25, 2011 - 12:57pm
Britta T


Have you been seeing those sneaky snake-like fruits popping up at the markets? Ta-daa! They're cucumbers! The cucumber, or Cucumis Sativus, is one of the most direct relatives to muskmelons and gourds, and as most people know, there's nothing quite as a cool as a cucumber- cucumber peels can be used to treat skin irritation or sunburns, and the fruit contains nearly 95% water and loads of potassium to keep you hydrated during the summer months.

Here's a refreshing tonic that will bring you back to life, especially if you've enjoying it too much! Sea salt delivers a healthy form of sodium with important trace minerals and elements like magnesium and calcium that replenish your supply of electrolytes. Try using one of the Natural Sea Salt blends from Salt Farm, and while you're at it grab a bunch of fresh mint from Maciel farms or JR Organics. Or, if you're hankering for a little exotic flavor, Paradise Valley Ranch has some tasty limes to twist into your drink.

Cucumber Cooler:
In a blender, mix together until completely pureed:
2 medium sized cucumbers
Juice from 2 limes
5-6 mint leaves
1 pinch of sea salt
1 cup water
2-3 ice cubes


Succulent Succotash

July 22, 2011 - 11:37am
Britta T



With all the sizzling, summer days we've been having lately, it's about time to head down to the new Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmer's Market and stock up on some of summer's best fresh produce, make a picnic, and head to the beach for sunset! Summer means squash and beans- the perfect ingredients for a light, savory succotash. Normally comprised of corn, beans, ham, and any other leftover veggies, the English word "succotash" has been translated from Narragansett, an ancient Eastern Algonquian language, now extinct. When you see all the delicious food offered at the market this week, you'll be quick to head home and cook up your own version of the traditional stew that will make even Sylvester the Cat swear...

If ham or bacon doesn't suit you, substitute fresh summer squash or eggplant. To make a basic succotash, grab two pounds of dried fava beans from Maciel Family Farms, let them soak for 5-10 minutes, then blanch them to remove the shell. (Learn more about soaking and shelling favas) That should leave you with about 2 cups of shelled beans to start your dish. Heat up some olive oil in a large pan, and saute 2-3 spring onions, courtesy of JR Organics, and a cup of your favorite diced summer squash. Suzie's Farm has some impressive varieties of sweet heirloom squash to try. If using bacon from Sonrise Ranch, add two cups to the vegetables and saute, stirring from time to time, until the bacon begins to brown. Then, add two cups of fresh corn kernels from Rodney Kawano Farms and saute for a couple minutes. Finally, add the blanched fava beans and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and sea salt to taste. Cover the pot and let the dish steam for a few minutes. Just before serving, chop up a bunch of mint leaves to round out the flavor, and serve hot or at room temperature. 



May 20, 2011 - 1:01pm
Hillary E.


Zucchini, yellow crookneck, pattypan and 8-ball, oh my! The summer squashes are making their appearance on the scene and at the North Park Farmers' Market. Tender and small, these guys are ripe for the picking, and eating too!

The pattypan and yellow crookneck squash from Kawano Farms are as sweet as can be. Steam them, sautee them or throw them on the grill. Any way you eat it is sure to be delicious. The 8-ball squash from JR Organics is perfect for stuffing with a little pork sausage from Da La Ranch and some wild rice. Or go raw and dip slices of Valdivia Farms' tiny squashes in Lisko Imports' spicy Cascabel Pepper hummus for an afternoon snack.

Farmer's like Valdivia and Suzie's Farm are putting to good use more than just the fruit of the plant, they sell the squash blossom as well. Try them in a quesadilla or omelette, or use this method and impress your family or guests:

Saute a few shrimp from Poppa's Fresh Fish with garlic, then blend with some ricotta or quark from Taste Cheese or Springhill Farm, adding fresh herbs to taste. Stuff 3 or 4 squash blossoms per person with the shrimp mixture. Most recipes call for battering the blossoms and deep frying, but we go a little healthier and easier by dipping them in a little beaten egg and then cornmeal and sauteeing quickly in some good olive oil from Thyme of Essence. Serve on a bed of pea shoots from Suzie's Farm, with a little drizzle of pesto from Lisko Artisan Deli.

Get your squash on!

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