This morning I paid a visit to the Santa Monica Farmers Market. The market, located at the intersection of Arizona and the Third Street Promenade has always been a favorite of mine and is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Saturday market has always been a little more relaxed and casual than the Wednesday version with less hustle and bustle and fewer professional chefs making serious purchases to compete with. Although there are half the stalls as found midweek, you can still find just about anything your heart (or stomach) desires as long as it's in season and grown locally-or more or less locally. I've heard of one farmer who travels all the way down from the Sacramento area to attend the Wednesday market.
Shopping at any Farmers Market makes good sense. I may not be a full fledged practitioner of locavorism (yet), but the quality, freshness and flavor of locally grown produce can't be beat and I may have to convert. It's a no brainer that eating locally grown food is good for our environment, besides, I'd rather put my money in the pockets of our farmers that do all the hard work rather than the middle men and corporations that drive the transglobal food industry. An added bonus is that in general, farmers are really down to earth folks (no pun intended) and answer any questions you may have and generously share their favorite recipes and preparations for their produce. If they don't already have samples out, just ask and most will give you a taste. Try doing that at your local supermarket.
Beautiful Zebra Heirloom Tomatoes
Yellow Lipstick and Pimiento Peppers
On this visit, I found several different squashes, Japanese eggplant, hydroponically grown arugula and Chinese celery, some cool looking yellow lipstick and pimiento peppers, lots of fresh herbs, two different types of fingerling potatoes, some amazingly crisp and sweet cameo apples (thanks for all the samples apple lady), bok choy, gai-lan, long beans, romano beans, and the last of the zebra heirloom tomatoes. I also picked up a nice whole wheat loaf and some corn rye from the Breadman.
With all this great stuff to work with in the kitchen, I can't wait to put paint to canvas and see what I come up with.