Photos from the Farmers’ Market Sustainability Dinner @ 1500 Ocean

FARMERS MARKET SUSTAINABILITY DINNER
Tuesday, June 30

Local and regional farmers and artisans will set up an exclusive ‘farmers market’ experience on The Del’s oceanfront Windsor Lawn. Guests will drift from one stand to the next, sampling fresh ingredients and learning more about eco-friendly food production.

Then, Chef Sinnott will team up with Executive Chef John Shelton and Executive Sous Chef Michael Catalano to create a fabulous outdoor family-style feast utilizing ingredients straight from the farm. ENO Wine Director Ted Glennon will be joined by Jim Fetzer from Ceago Vinegarden Winery for the dinner’s delicious wine pairings.

It was a really amazing night! We featured two San Marcos based farmers: Hokto Mushrooms & Fresh Origins Microgreens

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FARMERS MARKET REPORT: WEEK OF JULY 5, 2009

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© 2007 Melissa Mayer

RED WHITE AND BLUE

July 4, 1776:

“…We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

- Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson.

A mere 233 years ago our country became a sovereign nation.  There was no Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior, USDA, FDA, Rural development codes, Farm Bill or Food Security Acts.  Sustainability wasn’t a fashionable word associated with food.  Organics just was. Land was fertile and plentiful. We were a nation built on agriculture. Our constitution provided the language that each person was created equal and had equal rights to land and property.  A man farmed because that is what one did to live, to sustain, to provide, trade and earn a living.  Corn was not processed for fuel.  It was sown, grown, harvested and eaten.

in 1862 The Homestead Act offered 160 acres of land for almost nothing in exchange for the new land owners to farm the land and improve agricultural development within the United States.  The 20th century brought about a major transformation in agriculture with farming machines, technology and the mid-century  “green revolution” born from fertilizers and pesticides.  Most historic and impactful was the first installment of the U.S. Farm Bill, the Agricultural “Adjustment” Act of 1933, whose sole purpose was to pay farmers to farm on less land (the creation of farm subsidies!) reduce crop surplus and thus, effectively raise the value of the crop (ahh, supply v. demand).  Later in the century, a concession to agrarian values was made.  In 1972 the Rural Development Act provided vital services and funding for small farm research, technical training and small farming strategies to help improve farmers incomes and to encourage and support rural America.  But the government could not resist agribusiness and big farming lobbyists.  Soon, the Farm Bill would turn its support away from crop rotation,  support row to row harvesting and give way to monoculture farming.  Small dairy farms were bought by the government in the early 80′s in exchange for huge farms that would be granted subsidies (once again) for controlled dairy output, hence a reduction in dairy surplus and a convenient higher price for milk.  From a government standpoint, this is considered efficient and effective policy.

In an effort toward food and energy security it seems that our nation’ s governing bodies have come full-circle.  In 2008, The Food, Conservation and Energy Act (our current installment of the Farm Bill) provides tax credits, grants and guarantees for the acceleration and commercialization of Advanced biofuel production.  Advanced Biofuels are high-energy liquid transportation fuels derived from: low nutrient input/high per acre yield crops; agricultural or forestry waste; or other sustainable biomass feedstocks including algae.  The key word is “sustainable.”  It was a direct move away from the promotion of first generation biofuels and specifically indicated that these fuels are not produced from a kernel of corn.

Today our nation is making efforts to sustain, our farmers are driving their consciousness forward as they were 233 years ago.  Farming provides today as it did then.  Their ability to sow, harvest and nurture the land has provided our country with agricultural independence that so many other countries do not share.  Our continual support of the small farms that provide that independence is essential to our renewed collective desire to sustain and ironically evolve, yet revolve.

Happy Independence Day~

Melissa

RIVER BOTTOM FARMS – HEIRLOOM TOMATOES REVEALED, PART II:

Last week we sold out of every single tomato in their Heirloom Tomato Mix (So fast we didn’t even get to snap a picture).  This mix features a variety of heirlooms which provides a myriad of flavors, colors, shapes and sizes. Highlights are the Oregon Spring whose earliest fruits are its largest and predominantly seedless, the White Wonder, which is creamy white and quite sweet, the Striped Cavern, which has a unique lobed-shape, brilliant color, meaty flesh and thick walls (great for stuffing) and the Striped Cavern, which is a grower’s dream: it’s shaped like a jalapeno pepper, has variegated coloring, is super meaty and has amazing flavor. Other varieties in the mix include Dr. Wyche’s Yellow, Missouri Pink Love Apple, Japanese Trifele, Copia, Anna Russian, Red Zebra and Sprite.  They are here, they are ripe and they are revealing the full spectrum of the heirloom shapes, sizes and flavors that we love and MORE. Uber-limited quantities, but we have got each and every vine-ripe heirloom tomato from their fields.

COASTAL ORGANICS – PREMIUM SQUASHES AND SWEET TOMATOES!

Coastal Organics is hitting their prime this summer with unequivocally beautiful and delicious squash varieties and petit and sweet tomatoes that make your heart and mouth melt almost simultaneously.  Their Certified Organic farm delivers harvests of baby crops as a trademark, but don’t think it is done without sacrifice.  Harvesting baby crops is more labor-intensive and produces far less yields, which means round-the-clock agricultural care and a contract with Mother nature that can bring uncertainty, nerves and yet, more often sheer brilliance.

Baby Summer Squash Mix- a variety of Ronde Nice, 8-Ball, Green & Gold Zucchini, Sunburst (a.k.a gold patty pan) and Middle Eastern. You can also order individual squash varieties.

Baby Sunburst Squash – patty pans that are cute, small, crunchy, even slightly SPICY and ORGANIC!

Eight Ball Squash –  stuff ‘em, eat them whole, adore their brilliant shape and color and honor these seasonal beauties with culinary grace – let ‘em shine!

Middle Eastern Squash –  quintessentially perfect squash variety!  Actually, that is what they are known to be: the idyllic squash.  You do the math.

Green Zucchini Squash –  Coastal Organics zucchinis are squeaky fresh, slim and texturally shiny (AND They’re organic!)…so perfect, you could eat them raw.

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes – let’s just say the seeds are a “family secret” that Maryann Carpenter is not revealing to…anyone! Secrets never tasted so gooood!

Sun Gold Tomatoes - Mary Carpenter swears by these bright orange sun-kissed beauties!  They are a market stand-out and sell-out week after week.  Their sun-kissed skins are proof that sweetness lies just beneath the surface*

WEISER FAMILY FARMS – MELONS, MELONS, MELONS!!

Cavaillon Melons – The esteemed French favorite is back! When the Cavaillon is ripe the skin turns a cream color, the ribbed stripes change to darker green and the stem begins to crack and pulls off easily. Fragrant and quite sweet!

Ogen Melons – Yellow with green striped skin. Sweet and aromatic green flesh. Soft like an avocado when ripe.

Butterscotch Melons – These small melons have a pale green skin and a two-toned green and orange flesh. Many people think the flesh tastes like butterscotch candy because it is so sweet, which is where the name comes from. Ripe melons are paler in color with a sweet sugary aroma.

Entering:

Padron Chile Peppers from Happy Quail Farms!!!!!!!!!

White Corn from Gloria Tamai Farms (sweet and ready for the grill!), Heirloom Cherokee Tomatoes from Tutti Frutti, Zephyr Squash from McGrath Family Farms, Eight Ball, Middle Eastern, Sunburst and Summer Baby Squash Mix from Coastal Organics (awesome!!!), Meyer Lemons and Encore Tangerines from Garcia Organics, Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes from Coastal Organics are finally here and they are sweeeeet!, Micro French Breakfast Radishes and Spanish Radishes from Jaime Farms, Tiny Tiny Apricots (Elgian Marbles), Yellow Nectarines, WHITE Nectarines (candy!) and Yellow Peaches from Fitzgerald Farms, Green Onion Chives and Miners Lettuce from Yasutomi Farm, Pink Variegated Lemons from J.J.’s Lone Daughter Ranch (look for some uber-unique kumquats and kaffir limes!!), Rustic Arugula and Round Baby Carrots from Windrose Farm, and Ron Burgundy Fingerling Potatoes from Weiser Famly Farms.

AND, finally a word on shelling beans:

Flageolets are here and naturally have smaller pods which means petite beans inside. Look for more shelling beans as the summer ripens. Vines are growing, flowers are budding and shells are taking shape. Once July heat fires up there will be a plethora at our fingertips: Black-Eyed, Black Soy, Cranberry, Calypso, Dragon’s Tongue, Dixie Butter, Persian, Purple-hulled Pink Eyes, Rattlesnakes…you get the idea. The farmers know you want them and they have assured me I will be the first to know when they hit the radar. That makes you as close to the source as possible.

Flageolets

Purple-hulled Pink Eyes

Cranberry

Back on track: Fiesole (Baby Purple) Artichokes from Life’s A Choke

Semi-Savoy Spinach from Rutiz Farms

Gapping: Bloomsdale Spinach from Weiser Family Farms and Icicle Radishes from Jaime Farms (two more weeks..)

Exiting: Cara Cara Oranges, firecracker Lettuce, Sugar Snap Peas, Murcott Tangerines, French Leeks, Green Garlic, Meiwa Kumquats, Paige Tangerines, Tom’s Terrific Tangerines and Gold Nuggets from Garcia Organics, Black Kale, Baby Turnips (Coastal Organics) and Watermelon Radishes from Mcgrath Farms

MARKET TOUR:

White Corn from Gloria Tamai Farms: tender pale white kernels so sweet you’ll forget another color of corn exists…

Zephyr Squash - from McGrath Family Farms, limited quantities, sells out fast – pre-order!!!

Miners Lettuce – from Yasutomi Farms. Hydroponically grown European Heirloom seed with mild and sweet flavors. Nobody else is growing this and it is amazing!

Baby Heirloom Eggplants - from Jaime farms: hybrid mix of baby varieties such as Japanese, Italian, Varieagted, Thai, White, Finger – amazing presentation and flavor!

Heirloom Tomato Variety – from Tutti Frutti Farms

Pirella Lettuce from Coleman Farms

Baby Green Artichokes – round, meaty and mild, more heart than other varieties, as it is simply a tinier version of its larger counterparts that get more sun. 100% edible!

Baby Green Zucchini with Flower – Life’s A Choke Farms inject water into each squash blossom’s stem to ensure their freshness and livelihood. A wonderful and glamorous spring and summer menu accoutrement!!

Yellow Peaches – from Fitzgerald Farms. Sugar and acid strike the perfect balance making this the perfect peach!

Baby Summer Squash Mix- from Coastal Organics: a variety of Ronde Nice, 8-Ball, Green & Gold Zucchini, Sunburst (a.k.a gold patty pan) and Middle Eastern.

Jerry’s Berries Strawberries (Galante variety) from Rutiz Farm – sweeter than candy!! Jerry is one of 2 growers in the US producing this amazing strawberry variety. Get them while you still can!

Jerry's Berries Strawberries from Rutiz Farm

Persian Watercress – Rutiz Farms, a hot peppery leaf that has been an equally hot seller at the market. Very unique shape and taste!

Torpedo Onions – from Windrose farms – these really ARE torpedos!! I don’t often put succulent and onion in the same sentence…but I just did..for a reason!

Japanese Tomatoes – I am still in love with this hefty. Great pre-heirloom season variety nicknamed the “Tough Boy” for its heat-resilient texture and succulence!

Pencil California Asparagus – Skinny, tender, tasty purple-tipped and LOCAL! So thin it cooks in a flash!

Baby Celery – from Yasutomi Farm, more leaves than stalk, hydroponically grown, slender and almost herbaceously tasty stalks. The best baby celery available. Period.


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