Yesterday, my good friend Lisa & I met up for a stroll through the Wednesday Farmers Market in Santa Monica on the 3rd Street Promenade. I hadn’t been in a while, and once returned, I mentally kicked myself for not going sooner as this particular Farmers Market is one of the best of its kind.
Farmers from the California’s Central Valley drive down the day before especially for this market which is known for both its creativity and its diversity.
People actually wait in a very long line just to purchase Fresh Eggs. Kitchen Staff from local restaurants and cafes maneuver hand-pulled carts through the stalls piling fresh vegetables and fruits: Everything from Golden Beets, Leeks, Artichokes, Asparagus to Meyer Lemons and Blueberries. Culinary students from LATC move en masse taking notes on the multi-colored fingerling Potatoes, Cabbages, and Lettuce.
Almond growers, Pistachio farmers, Tomato vendors….they are all here. And Avocadoes! There are so many varieties. I had no idea.
I felt a twinge of envy as I passed the Fresh Herb stall where new plantings are in abundance. I had to remind myself that soon, very soon, I will be hard at work at Groundhog Hill: Tilling, planting, creating.
I resist the urge to tell the farmers I engage in conversation that, I too, am a member of their fraternity! “I grow stuff, as well!” I want to say, but I don’t. Instead, I listen to their accounts of the current drought conditions which are quite severe. I thank them and offer up a prayer for good fortune and for Rain.
At every stall selling produce, samples are available for tasting. Yesterday, I tried Chermoya for the first time…it’s a cross between Papaya and Mango. The seeds and rind are really bad for you. The vendor was impressed I knew this and we laughed about our mutual fondness for Food Network’s CHOPPED series where this fruit is featured regularly as one of the mystery basket ingredients.
Fresh Pesto on French Bread, Olive Tapenade, oranges, lemons, almonds, goat cheese, strawberries…I and everyone else shamelessly sample them all and am rewarded in so doing by furthering my food education. I want to know if that Purple Caulilfower (pictured above) will lose its color when cooked. “No, it won’t” I am told. I think to myself, “Depends on how it’s cooked, I bet: Boiling versus Roasting.”
Using my trusty I-phone, I snap photo after photo of cool produce and text them to my sister Paula, the one person I know will find them of interest! Curious Minds think alike.
Lisa and I part company. I hop on my beach cruiser bicycle and pedal back home via the beach bike path, my mind filled with thoughts of purple cauliflower and, of course, of Groundhog Hill.