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Preservation Fall

October 10, 2011 - 12:28pm
Author: 
Britta T

PRESERVATION FALL


The art of preserving and fermenting food is not a new trend, but more people are doing it again as a way to eat well, save money, create flavorful gifts, and extend the natural seasonal variety of local foods. Luckily, San Diego happens to be one of those unique and magic places where pretty much everything grows all the time; however there are subtle seasons, and their presence avails none the less. We are charged with the responsibility and the pleasure of doing our best to enjoy the "fruits of our labors" year round. Can you imagine not having any strawberry jam for your toast on those chilly winter mornings? Or forgoing the sweet tang of tomatoes for nine long months?

Whether you are an experienced jam maker, a novice at hosting pickle parties, or a professional sauce sifter, "Preservation Fall" is an event you do not want to miss. On Saturday, October 22nd, the Little Italy Mercato is celebrating the fall harvest season in full colors.

Join Mark Stogsdill, owner of Happy Pantry; Jen Barthell from the Neighborhood Foodie; and Austin Durant from The Fermenters Club for fermentation and preservation demonstrations at the Amici Park amphitheater in the heart of the Mercato. From 9:30-12:30pm, participants to the free event will learn canning basics and will be able to buy canning products to preserve at home, along with an assortment of pickled treats, jams, sauces and veggies to eat or give as gifts.

 

GRAPES GALORE

August 11, 2011 - 2:05pm
Author: 
Britta T

THAT'S JUST GRAPE

Aesop might have been mistaken when he boasted about sour grapes, because we have tasted and we have seen their sweetness at the Little Italy Mercato. Stop by Lone Oak Ranch, Smit Orchards or Terra Bella Ranch to grab some of the finest grapes of the first harvest.

If you're bored with plain jane grape salads and cheap grape popsicles, try your luck at making this surprisingly delightful grape and nectarine butter. It will surely turn any sour faces into smiles! Spread a dollop on a baguette from Bread & Cie, paired with a soft cheese like Minuet or even ripe Camembert from Taste Cheese. Or perhaps you'd like to enjoy it fresh with some rich, creamy peanut butter from Pacific Beach Peanut Butter on a slice of Sunflower Flaxseed bread from Belen Bakery. Mmmm.

Here's how you make it: Put 7-8 ripe nectarines, diced coarsely (no need to remove skins) and 4 cups of concord grapes in a large pan. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until the fruit gets soft. Strain seeds through a food mill (or mash and press through a fine strainers). Return remaining pulp to the pan. Boil gently, stirring constantly until reduced by half. Turn off the heat, add 1/4 cup of raw honey from Heritage Family Farms or Mikolich Farm and mix well. Pour fruit butter into sterilized jars, leaving some headspace. Check out Simply Canning for proper sealing/canning methods and tips..

 

GRAPES GALORE

August 11, 2011 - 12:08pm
Author: 
Britta T

OH GRAPES...

Aesop might have been mistaken when he boasted about sour grapes, because we have tasted and we have seen their sweetness at the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers' Market. Lone Oak Ranch and Smit Orchards are now offering some of the finest grapes of the first harvest.

If you're bored with plain jane grape salads and cheap grade grape popsicles, try your luck at making this surprisingly delightful concord grape and nectarine butter. It will surely turn any sour faces into smiles! Spread on a whole grain slice from Bread & Cie and enjoy.

Here's how you make it: Put 7-8 ripe nectarines, diced coarsely (no need to remove skins) and 4 cups of concord grapes in a large pan. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until the fruit gets soft. Strain seeds through a food mill (or mash and press through a fine strainers). Return remaining pulp to the pan. Boil gently, stirring constantly until reduced by half. Turn off the heat, add 1/4 cup of raw honey from Mikolich and mix well. Pour fruit butter into sterilized jars, leaving some headspace. Make sure to follow instructions for proper sealing/canning methods.

 

 

GOING BIG

June 10, 2011 - 11:18am
Author: 
Hillary E.

CELEBRATING GRADS AND DADS

It's a couple of busy weekends coming up here with graduations happening and Father's Day just around the corner.

Gather up some picnic supplies and take it outdoors to celebrate graduation. Start with a basket from the Basket Co-Op and fill it with goodies like cheese from Taste, pickles from Happy Pantry - the Hab-a- Hotties and sauerkraut shouldn't be missed! - some fresh Carlsbad Aquafarms oysters for shucking and of course a baguette from Bread & Cie. Bring a blanket and a set of reusable and recycled glasses from Bottlehood and find yourself the perfect picnic spot. Three cheers for the recent grad!

Give Dad a night off, and whip him up a dinner from your Saturday Mercato finds. How about a (not so) classic BLT using bacon from Da Le Ranch, first of the season tomatoes from Kawano Farms, rich and creamy Haas avocados from Paradise Valley Ranch and a handful of sprouts from Suzie's Farm? For gifts there are salt samplers from Salt Farm that come in a pack of 5 that you get to mix and match to his tastes or pick up a Himilayan Pink Salt Plate that he can use for grilling. Really Good Jam just made a fresh batch of marmalade that not only uses local citrus fruits but are punched up with either a hint of whiskey or gin. Artistic Woodcrafts brings stacks of handmade cutting boards in a variety of woods, shapes and sizes; paired with one of their Messermeister knives or myriad kitchen utensils you've got a perfect gift for the Dad who fancies himself a chef.

ALL ABOUT YOUR MOTHER

May 5, 2011 - 4:01pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

This Sunday is Mother's Day so come and take a stroll (bring your Mom!) from Kettner up to Union to find that perfect little something or pick up the trimmings for a special brunch. There are bunches of fragrant lilacs from JR Organics and pretty bouquets of oriental lilies from Dramm & Echter and truffles from Eclipse Chocolat, but that's really just the beginning. From trinkets to treasures, there's something for every Mom just to say, "thank you for being you"! Ceramics from The Wheel and fun jewelry from LilyGirl are just a few ideas. Make a giftbox of spices from Just Spice or a basket of baking supplies and jams from Sustainable Pantry and Really Good Jam. Desire Tablecloths has beautiful kitchen textiles that anyone would love.

If it’s brunch ingredients you’re scouting for Paradise Valley has fresh – we’re talking squeezed right before your eyes - orange juice. Pick up a dozen eggs from Descanso, ciabatta from Belen Bakery, Springhill’s organic sage cheddar and sausage from Son Rise Ranch and make Mom a savory strata. All you need is a bag of coffee beans from Café Virtuoso to complete the picture.

Mom spent years taking care of us - when we were sick, when we were hungry, when we just needed a hug - and though we know you should celebrate mom everyday, let the Little Italy Mercato make this day extra special.

SHAPE UP!

April 8, 2011 - 1:12pm
Author: 
Hillary E.

SNACKERS & STROLLERS

We don't have to tell you that fast food, cookies and soda aren't the healthiest afternoon pick-me-ups, but sometimes when that snack attack hits you've just got to eat something. The Adams Avenue Farmer's Market has plenty to offer by way noshing and it's not just for the kids! A handful of Mexican chocolate flavored almonds from Hopkins Ag and apples from Smit will fill you with fiber and natural sweetness. Dip carrots and sugar snap peas from Suzie's Farm into one of Lisko's many flavors of hummus. Toast a slice of Belen Bakery's sunflower bread and spread it with Really Good Jam's Champagne and rose petal infused strawberry jam.  And of course, keeping your fruit bowl stocked and your crisper drawer full of veggies will provide you with healthful snacking all week long.

Beautiful weather and longer days make it easy to get healthy and fit. Combine healthy snacking with a brisk stroll to the Adams Avenue Farmers' Market from Kensingnton, Normal Heights or University Heights and you'll be in great shape for summer.

WAKE UP CALL

April 8, 2011 - 9:32am
Author: 
Hillary E.

MORNINGS AT THE MERCATO


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and just because you're in a rush to get to the the Little Italy Mercato, doesn't mean you have to skip it. Whether it's a spot of tea or a cuppa joe, Joes on the Nose and Cafe Virtuoso are there for your morning caffeine fix. Seb's Panini has delicious breakfast sandwiches and Fabrison's morning themed crepes can't be beat. There's Belen Bakery for scones and Loic for pastries to fulfill that morning time sweet tooth. Granola Girl and Scratch both have crunchy wholesome granola to take home; perfect when topped with a sprinkle of berries from Pudwill and your favorite yogurt. And don't forget the OJ from Polito Farms or Paradise Valley Ranch!

For Sunday morning, pick up a bag of gluten-free muffin mix from Sustainable Pantry and slather them with jam from Impeccable Taste hot out of the oven. Or stock up on fresh eggs from Schaner Farm or Descanso Ranch, asparagus from Suncoast Farms and Firehouse Jack cheese from Springhill Farms. Can you say frittata? Start your mornings off right with fresh, local ingredients and a trip down to the Mercato.

Jammin at the Adams Avenue market

March 15, 2011 - 2:54pm
Author: 
Chris S

WE BE JAMMIN
The latest English sensation to tear up the American charts is all natural jam artist Rachel of Really Good Jams, currently appearing live at the Adams Avenue Farmers' Market on Wednesdays and rocking out some of her greatest hits including Strawberry Champagne; Onion, Fig and Balsamic Marmalade, and, when it's time to slow it down a little bit and dance real close with the one you love, Rustic Orange Whiskey Marmalade.  Each of her creations is based on a strong beat of fresh local fruits with just enough organic sugar to make it smooth but never too sweet. 
If your taste runs to the savory, fear not, Rachel's got a tune for you, too.  Her authentic English style picalilli is a tangy, tasty blend of pickled local cauliflower and other vegetables with zesty mustard and spices, and it's the key ingredient to a traditional British ploughman's lunch. At its simplest, the ploughman's lunch is a hunk of your favorite cheese (from Taste Cheese, of course), a thick slice of bread and a generous scoop of picalilli.  Dress it up if you like with an apple from Smit, some celery or a bit of lettuce from Suzie's, and a cooked sausage from DaLe Ranch (served cold).  In England it's served with a pint of locally brewed ale, and we think that's a fine idea.  Cheers!

ESCAPE TO SHANGRI-LA

March 11, 2011 - 12:18pm
Author: 
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.

ESCAPE TO SHANGRI-LA

March 8, 2011 - 6:57am
Author: 
Hillary E.

ESCAPE TO SHANGRI-LA

Have you stopped by the Rancho Mexico Lindo booth at the Adams Avenue Farmer’s Market 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 your morning toast 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.

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