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October 4, 2013 - 12:02pm
Brijet M.

It must be Fall, because we have been seeing vibrant red pomegranates at the Little Italy Mercato. Look for them at Heritage Farm, Lone Oak Ranch, Fancy Treats Farm and Tom King in the coming weeks. Often called a ‘superfood’ due to their antioxidant content, pomegranates add a splash of color and a bright, sweet-tart flavor to all sorts of sweet and savory dishes.

Sprinkle the seeds over a cheesecake made with Springhill Cheese Company organic quark, or stir into your Ancient Secrets Greek yogurt in the morning. Cook them together with their juice to make a sauce for roast duck from Da-Le Ranch, or pick up avocados from Paradise Valley Ranch or Gilbert Quintos Farm for pomegranate guacamole.

Fresh pomegranates are in season from now through the end of fall!


September 13, 2012 - 11:00am
Chris S.

You’ll find sweet and spicy peppers at the Little Italy Mercato to pep up all your favorite recipes. Red, green, orange and yellow bell peppers from Vang’s Farm are great for stuffing or cut them into rings and grill with flank steak from Sonrise Ranch for a fajita plate. Use jalapenos or serranos from Sage Mountain Farm for the salsa!

Want to try your hand at making roasted red pepper hummus? Try this easy recipe. If you need a great sidedish, try this southwestern salad using quinoa from Sustainable Pantry, corn from Kawano Farms and your favorite color of bell peppers. Or grab a basket of avocados from PV Ranch and make a sweet corn guacamole

Suzie’s Farm has more than a peck of peppers, including sweet nardellos, antojis, and golden treasures, slightly spicy poblanos, hotter jalapenos and Hungarian wax peppers, and red hot cherry bombs. Proios Family Farm offers baskets of mixed hot peppers for the indecisive.

Spice up your Saturday at the Little Italy Mercato!


We Want Mo' Cilantro!

June 22, 2012 - 4:56pm
Chris S

The distinctive fragrance of fresh cilantro fills the air around Valdivia, Vang’s, Maciel, and Gilbert Quintos’ farm stands at the Little Italy Mercato.  You’ve probably used cilantro in salsa made with tomatoes from JR Organics or in guacamole with avocado and limes from Heritage or Paradise Valley Ranch, but it’s also delicious in summer fruit salsas; try it with nectarines from Lone Oak, cantaloupe from Kawano or pluots from Smit Orchards. You’ll want to grab a big bunch if you’re making ceviche from Poppa’s Fresh Fish.

Cilantro is native to Europe and was popular in medieval cooking, but fell out of fashion there  in the 1600’s. It’s now most closely associated with Asian and Latin American cuisine, but it was once key in Italian cooking, and cilantro pesto actually predates the basil version that we know today. Pick up some chandler walnuts from Terra Bella Ranch and parmesan-reggiano from Taste cheese and try it out for yourself, tucked into quesadillas or tossed with Assenti's pasta.

Score Super Bowl Food!

January 31, 2012 - 1:23pm
Brijet M







Score a touchdown with your football buddies by shopping the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers’ Market before the big game this Sunday. Those “lucky” enough to attend the Super Bowl this year will be bundled up in big coats, hats and mittens in Indianapolis with a high temperature predicted to be 38 degrees. We’ll be the real lucky ones here in sunny San Diego, enjoying the game in Tees and sandals!

Start with appetizers and snacks; grab a few baguettes from Belen Bread and a bottle of infused olive oil from Bistro Blends for dipping, snag some sweet dates from Morocco Gold Dates and fill your shopping bag with scarlet grapes from Smit Orchard. Forget the fried potato chips and heavy cream dips! Pick up some crunchy carrots, celery and sugar snap peas from J.R. Organics to dip in sprouted hummus from Majestic Garlic or pesto-flavored Bitchin’ Sauce. While you’re at the Bitchin’ booth, grab some extra tubs to spread on your pre-game sandwiches, grilled chicken or fish!

Paradise Valley Ranch has you covered for guacamole. Ask them for fresh limes and  3 or 4 avocados that were just picked and not quite ripe, stick them in a paper bag when you get home and they’ll be ready to mash by game day. Rodney Kawano Farm has your tomatoes, and Maciel farms can supply the cilantro and jalapenos to kick up your favorite guac recipe. We like this one with or without the bacon.

Not hosting the game this year? Grab a gift tin of Honey Cinnamon, Chipotle and Spicy Lime roasted almonds from Hopkins AG and a bouquet of gorgeous flowers from Maldonado Flowers for the host. You’ll be named Most Valuable Guest for sure!


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.

Three Ways to Mole

October 5, 2011 - 10:48am
Britta T


Smoky Mole

This intense, exotic sauce is sure to capture people's attention at the dinner table. It's simple, fast, and complements a variety of dishes and palates. Select fresh cumin, cinnamon, chili powder and cayenne from Just Spice this week at the Mercato, a chunk of yummy Sea Salt Nib chocolate from Eclipse, and a couple pounds of ripe tomatoes from Sage Mountain Farm, and one of the gorgeous whole, free range chickens from Spur Valley Ranch. Cook the spices with olive oil, melt the chocolate, and stew the tomatoes until you have a perfect, smokey sweet sauce to drizzle over baked chicken, sauteed veggies, or actually anything.


Whether you're making it for a dip, a spread, or your whole meal, guacamole is always in style! You'll find ripe avocados from Paradise Valley Ranch, delicious limes, onions, and garlic from Schaner Farms, juicy and firm roma tomatoes from Tom King Farms, and fragrant cilantro from Vang Farms. Chop, dice, juice, salt, and stir it up with a bit of pepper or hot sauce to add a kick to your weekend!

Holy Moly
Maybe you're already a greek mythology buff, but did you know that "holy moly' actually refers to a medicinal plant related to garlic and leeks? Here's a recipe for a garlic-onion chutney that even Odysseus would gobble up. Sweet, pungent, and perfect for toast, soup, meat, or pasta.

Avocado Alert!

February 1, 2011 - 10:11am
Chris S


Urban legend holds that more avocados are consumed on Superbowl Sunday than any other day of the year - we're not sure if that's true, but we do know it's going to be awfully tough to find a ripe avocado in this town Sunday morning!  We recommend stocking up on hass, reed, bacon or fuerte avocados on Wednesday at the Adams Avenue Farmers' Market or Thursday at the North Park Farmers' Market, or waking up early to snag ripe avocados at the Little Italy Mercato on Saturday.  Paradise Valley, R&L, Heritage, Schaner and Terra Bella are some of the farms harvesting acocados this week; ask the farmers to help you select fruits that will be perfectly ripe when you need them.  If you're making guacamole, don't forget the seasonings - chile peppers, green onion, cilantro, tomato, garlic and fresh lime juice are all great additions, and Suzie's Farm, JR Organics, Valdivia and Sage Mountain are great farms to get them from!

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