Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Today has been a good day so far. The weather is gorgeous, perfect for a stroll in the park or a bicycle ride down one of the many trails in the area. Or, of course, the farmer's market! Going about my regular Tuesday business, I landed at the market around 11am to find it swarming with people. I suppose the sunshine helps draw out the crowds, but it was still lovely and as pleasant as always. Patrons walking around in shorts and flip flops, mom's pushing strollers, a groovy guitar player singing to the masses... I love my town. I was able to get in and out pretty quickly today, although I half contemplated lying down in the grass and taking a nap at one point. But alas, I had a checklist of stuff to get done this morning, so I shopped around and moved on...
I made a point of catching the farm and vendor names today, to familiarize myself with the folks that I see every week on my adventures One thing I did notice was that not all sellers had business cards, or even signs for that matter, which wasn't very helpful. Signs people, signs! Get your name out there! I had to ask a few folks for more information and they were more than willing to share, so that was nice. Most were very happy to hear that I've been writing about the market, which made me smile because I have so much fun doing it and they deserve the attention.
First and foremost, a round of hearty and delicious Popeye bread from Great Harvest Bread Company (www.greatharvest.com). This $6 loaf is a mixture of freshly milled whole wheat, garlic, onions, spinach, parmesan cheese, red bell peppers and sea salt. Practically a meal in itself, although I will be serving it with chicken tonight. The fellow behind the table was so kind to offer me FREE day old varieties to take home as well, so he recommended the Dakota rolls (whole wheat with poppy, sunflower, sesame seed) and the classic Whole Wheat dinner rolls. Score! How awesome is that? Apparently it's a regular thing for them to give day old freebies with purchase, which I think is a great idea. I'm sure I'll be visiting again next time thanks to their warm generosity.
Next, I picked up some plump vine ripe tomatoes and shiny yellow onions from Swank Farms (www.swankfarms.com). I buy these items from this family farm every week- they are located in Hollister, California but make the trek up to Concord to participate in the Todos Santos market, along with other local markets as well. If you are down in the Hollister area during the fall season, make sure to visit their famous corn maze and pumpkin patch- great for kids!
The hubby and I have recently become addicted to apricots, so I grabbed a bag of them from CMC Farms (www.cmc-farms.com). Located in Lodi, CMC Farms continue to provide the highest quality California grown fruits, including Apricots, Peaches, and Grapes, along with specialty items such as Jenerik, Grape Leaves, and Raisins.
Cherries!! I can't get enough of cherries this time of year! I can eat a bushel of them easily in one sitting and not even blink an eye. Joe Gotelli and Sons cherries caught my eye this week, with their ruby red skins and sweet, juicy flavor. I had to restrain myself from bringing home an entire box. These babies don't come cheap, $4 a pound, but are well worth the splurge. I wasn't able to find any sort of website for JG & Sons, although I know they are based out of Aptos- but I also know that they frequent almost all Contra Costa markets on a regular basis.
The Nunez Organic Farm (www.nunezorganicfarm.com) is one of my favorite tents in the square. Family owned and operated since 2003, Nunez farms offers you the the freshest produce of the
highest quality. From their 100% organic fields to your dinner table, they are sure that you and your family will enjoy their top quality selection of premium produce goods. Based out of Watsonville, the bosom of fabulous produce farms, this is where, I promise, you will find the biggest head of cauliflower on the planet- and the flavor is incredible, hands down. Since I usually buy the cauliflower here, I opted for their broccoli today. It's a healthy, full tree of green goodness. Can't wait to try it tonight.
CV Poultry is the only vendor that sells farm fresh eggs at the market. Cheap ($3 a dozen), organic and delicious, their large brown eggs come from hormone free grass fed chickens. Again, I wasn't able to locate a website or other vendor info, but they're always around on Tuesday's. They'll even cut the dozen in half, for those who don't consume as many eggs, costing only a buck fifty. These eggs taste nothing like store bought, definitely worth a try.
Achindinha Goat Cheese Company (www.achadinha.com) hails from my old stomping grounds near Petaluma. In 1997, Jim and Donna Pacheco sold their cows and bought dairy goats. They now have close to 1600 goats. The girls are able to eat pasture all year long on 290 acres and eat all of the brewer’s grain from the local breweries they want. I chose their Capricious (Ca-pree-shus) cheese ~ it won "Best in Show" at the American Cheese Society event in 2002 and named one of Saveurs "50 favorite cheeses in the United States" in 2005. Capricious is an aged cheese hand rolled in an old european style. A truly unique artisan cheese made with attention to detail and naturally aged in the fresh Pacific Ocean air.
Last but not least, Cecchini & Cecchini Asparagus (www.cecchiniandcecchini.com). I'm pretty sure these guys are already well known in the farmer's market industry- their asparagus is incredible. Cecchini & Cecchini is the only surviving asparagus grower in Contra Costa County. We're talking melt-in-your-mouth good. Can't get much fresher than this, local, right out of Brentwood. Along with great asparagus, they also grow 5 varieties of grapes on their 40 acre plot in Knightsen, if you are interested.
Later this week I'll be hitting up the Thursday Night Todos Santos market to check out what's new and different in the evening hours, so I'm looking forward to that. I will keep you all posted!