Monday, May 14, 2012

Foodie Weekend.

Yesterday we gave the Walnut Creek Farmer's Market another try, and I must say, my opinion has changed a bit since last week.  This time around we made sure to get there during peak hours- what a difference!  The market was packed, the sun was out and the vendors had plenty of goods to choose from.  Again, this market is open every Sunday from 9-2pm and takes up the majority of the Northern part of Locust Street in downtown.  We also visited the Diablo Valley Farmer's Market on Saturday, which is located on North Wiget Lane in the Shadelands business park- it was huge (probably 50+ vendors) and very crowded.  That market runs on Saturdays from 9-1pm and was voted the number one market by Walnut Creek Magazine in 2010 (also the #3 farmer's market in the state). Parking is ample at both locations, but please remember to leave your dogs at home as they are not allowed to wander through the market with you.  Here's what you have to look forward to...

- Talk with Farmers' and learn how they grow your food.
- Visit with neighbors and friends and meet new people within your community.
- Enjoy live music while shopping outside.
- Buy Locally grown produce from California Farmers.
- Stock up on local honey, olive oil, vinegars, preserves and delicious ethnic food.
- Buy local organic beef and fresh, wild seafood.
- Select lovely fresh flower bouquets.
- Visit the information booth to learn more about our Farmers and vendors, pick up new recipes and nutrition information.
- Go Green by purchasing green bags, reusable cloth bags (instead of plastic bags for produce) and baskets.

I was thrilled that there were fish and meat vendors this time at both markets.  We ended up buying some fresh halibut and grass fed beef .  I wasn't able to catch the name of the fish vendor, but the meat came from Holding Ranch.  Holding Ranch offers beef and lamb that is wholly raised on grass, never receiving any supplements, antibiotics, corn or other feeds that are unnatural to ruminant animals. For 12 years, Holding Ranch cattle were raised in the LaMorinda Hills as well as in Danville using rotational grazing practices designed to optimize the health of the native grasslands. They handle their animals humanely, using techniques developed by leading animal behavior experts.  We will be using this beef tonight in our homemade tacos. 

Again, we picked up cheese from Achadinha Cheese Company.  This time we chose the fresh goat cheese curds (Poutine!) and the Broncha, a salty rich blend of goat & cow's milk. 

The hubby chose a few things from Bolani East & West Gourmet Afghan Food.  He liked the Kadoo sauce, a butternut, garlic and olive oil mixture that spreads easily on the Potato Bolani he also chose.  Initially found in only a few of the Bay Area’s farmers’ markets, this unique fusion of East and West flavors rapidly gained popularity strictly through word of mouth and the power of a sample. Billal Sidiq is an "Ambassador of Love" in most of the San Francisco Bay Area's Farmers' Markets and even beyond. He represents his company with an inviting face, running mouth, and hands full of samples. Today East and West participates in up to 100 farmers’ markets every week. The product is now also found in Whole Foods markets and Andronico’s.

We loved the pasta from Il Pastaio so much, we just had to go back for more.  The Gnocchi is spectacular so I grabbed a 1 pound bag of the original.  The previous Crab ravioli we tried was delicious, but this time we chose the large Cheese & Spinach stuffed squares, along with a container of their handmade Pesto sauce.

Metropolis Baking Company caught my eye once again with their giant, crusty domes of fresh sourdough.  I sliced a few chunks off last night and served with our halibut, along with roasted brussel sprouts and squash blossoms.

I can't say enough about Oaktown Jerk beefy jerky.  Oaktown Jerk is proudly located in Oakland, CA. Their beef jerky is made with certified Piedmontese beef (grass fed, hormone free beef) and all of their ingredients are fresh and purchased locally. The final product is both chewy and flavorful.  We bought the Thai Basil this trip, the hubby can't get enough.  Plus, owner & chef Randall Hughes is just a super cool guy. 

Amongst our other gatherings: edible flower salad, apricots, nectarines, baby squash, cherries, onions, basil and peppers.  The fridge is fully stocked and ready to go!  Time to get cookin'.

Happy Monday,


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