Thursday, April 16, 2009

Market Fresh

I love buying produce that is grown locally and organically for obvious reasons. Produce starts losing flavor the moment it is picked, some faster than other. Growing up in Venice, Italy, spoiled me in many ways, but I didn't realize how lucky I had it until I moved to the States, the land of supermarkets. Growing up I was lucky to taste amazingly fresh fruit and vegetables. My mom would go the farmers' market almost everyday, so everything she made tasted fantastic. Freshness is something I have experience for the past four years eating vegetables grown in my little garden. Last June I made a simple pasta with peas picked merely an hour earlier, baby onions, and parsley, also coming from the garden. The flavor of that dish was absolutely amazing. A quick sautée and they were ready. Most Italian dishes like Risi e Bisi, a traditional Venetian dish, have only few ingredients so freshness is a must. This year I planted twice as many pea plants to compensate for the peas I devour before they even reach the kitchen.

Marin County is an amazing place to live in, for million reasons, one being the availability of the best and freshest organic produce, grown within few miles of your home. We have two major weekly farmers' markets in San Rafael, on Thursday and Sunday mornings, and smaller ones located in other cities, some only running in the summer.

Today at the San Rafael Farmers Market there were the usual suspects, Star Route Farms, Marin Roots Farm, Full Belly Farm, to just name a few of these amazingly dedicated farmers. I first headed to get my fix of nettles but at Star Route they were sold out already, bummer! I bought some fava beans, spring onions, artichokes, and Italian kale.

My second stop was at Marin Roots Farm but they didn't have any nettles either, gone to seeds already. Instead I bought some kale flowerlets, which are awaiting inspiration. I am thinking to pair them with onions and lentils.

I also stopped at Della Fattoria stand and bought a wonderful rosemary, meyer lemon loaf, just gorgeous (this amazing bakery deserves a post of its own, coming soon.....).

Going to the market brings me an infusion of happiness, a sense of well being. Maybe because it brings back the feeling of walking through Venice's market stalls, buying some early spring offerings, waiting for inspiration to strike.

Happy Spring!


Y said...

The San Rafael markets sound fantastic! I've only been to Venice once, on holiday, and was struck by how wonderful the produce looked, at the markets there. Most memorable were the perfectly ripe peaches - I haven't eaten a peach like that since.

Laura said...

Y, you nailed it, fruit is unbelievable there. The apricots I used to eat there, oh my! It is getting better in california, but because of the distance and the timing of the markets, everything is picked way before it is ripe.


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