My first experience of the Farmers' Market was ten years ago in Los Angeles,thanks to my school friend Sushma Adarkar.She lived at the Pacific Palisades at the time and was a regular at the Santa Monica market.She has always been a strong believer in natural produce and regular exercise.My parents and I made it a point to visit the market and were enthralled by the choices and tastings.My father still remembers the taste of the warm rustic tomato soup and sweet doughnut peaches he had there
America has people from so many varied countries that have settled there.That brings with it a plethora of cultures and a conglomeration of the same.The same is reflected in the Farmers' Market.This time we went to the Newport Beach one which was on a Saturday on the grounds of the beautiful Mariners' Church.The place was busy with people carrying strollers and prams to carry their buys to the car.The farmers were of American,Chinese and even Indian origin
I came across Heirloom Tomatoes which are those that have been grown that have been grown by self pollination by atleast fifty years.No hybridization,no cross- pollination! These are more flavourful,have unusual colors and shapes and have a shorter shelf life.Tomatoes are said to have originated in Central and South America.While it reached urban American kitchens in 1800s,it was used by Native Americans and Creoles of New Orleans much earlier.Essentially it is a fruit but regarded by most as a vegetable.
The market had a stall for spice mixes based on colour.The Sassy Me was a spicy mix of sesame seeds,peppercorn,lava salt and truffles.I also picked up a red one with Raspberry and Red Pepper
The Italian stall had Salami made Italian style.The bites were firm and intensely flavoured.They were infused with one of the top Italian red wines Barola
I was surprised to see Avocado Oil.Apparently it is great for cooking and salads.Should have picked up a bottle.
There were many shops with fresh berries.....strawberries,raspberries,blueberries and blackberries.Bought quite a few and popped them into my mouth while roaming the market.The farmer informed us that they had left the farm at 3am to be there on time for the morning market! There are other berries up north like salmonberries,huckleberries and cloudberries.Some are made into berry leather to munch on.
Spotted some large sweet onions.These are now also sold as baked chips and taste great
There were pretty cauliflowers and broccoli.At the Albertsons supermarket,I saw them in purple,yellow and green colors....all natural,mind you!
Zucchini and squash were all around.Corn,squash and beans are staples of the Native American diet and Zucchini is obviously an Italian addition.
It was wonderful spending Sunday morning in this colorful market.There was the aroma of kettle corn all around and a stall with scallion pancakes with a long queue.
Would be great to see the seasonal specials all around the year.I make it a point to visit the Farmers Market at Shivaji Park,Mumbai on Saturdays.It has its own charm.Nothing like fresh farm produce,don't you agree?