FARMERS MARKET REPORT: WEEK OF JULY 19, 2009

GOING LOCAL~

Specialty Produce has been at the forefront of supporting local, sustainable and organic California farmers.  Its decades of business has thrived upon the bounty of produce provided by the small, medium and larger farms of our prolific producing state.  We are paying that forward with the addition of several new local farms in the coming weeks and hopefully months.  We are constantly seeking and sourcing local and desire to bring the freshest farmers market driven produce to your kitchen door.  Whether we gather produce in Santa Monica from a dozen farmers and growers, bringing multiple sources from one source, which reduces our overall carbon footprint or receiving 70 pounds of heirloom tomatoes from Lakeside, we are advocating the commerce that brings sustenance and culinary excitement to the table.

This week we welcome Rancho Del Sol to our Farmers Market and we welcome back Pudwill Farms.  Next week we will be introducing yet another local farm and hopefully a few more shortly to follow as your palates desire sources closer to home and the freshest produce that inspires you and fulfills your guests needs.  Lest we not allow this month to go by without supporting National Blueberry Month!! The blueberries are ripe and round in more ways than shape: the flavor comes full circle in both sweetness and fruitiness.  And Pudwill Farms is harvesting the plump, juicy blueberries that remind us of childhood.

Now get ready for the most abundant roster of freshness I have ever reported, experienced and far more than thoroughly enjoyed…

~Melissa

RANCHO DEL SOL:  CERTIFIED ORGANIC AND LOCAL!

Bill and Linda Zaiser are exercising their agricultural flair on a 36-acre ranch in Jamul, where citrus became their signature in the 1980′s.  Their cash crop was the not-so-fashionable-yet blood oranges that almost 30 years later are now a Southern California ubiquety.  Today they grow specialty citruses, melons, cucumbers, squashes and more.  The artist in Linda thrives in her agricultural creations:  Batopilas – a hybrid of butternut squash and zuuchini, blending winter and summer into one and an oblong brilliant orange variegated lemon cucumbers of Chinese descent,  just a couple of examples of Rancho Del Sol’s unique array of fruitful offerings.  Their summer harvest includes extremly rare and unique melons and cucumbers and oodles of squash varieties that serve as bumper crops  for their prolific fall harvest of exotic citrus varieties including sorrento lemons, kishu, yuzu, limequats, buddah’s hand and more!!

Tigger Melon – a petite and sweet melon with deep burnt orange variegated skin and a creamy white flesh that tastes like a honeydew-cantaloupe blend.  I’m loving it!

Soyu Chinese Cucumber – Long, burpless, bumpy skin with a stark white flesh – crispy and  succulent.

Chinese Lemon Cucumber – This Chinese yellow is green when it is young transforming into an oval shaped cucumber that has beautiful striking lemon-orange variegated (non-bitter) skin with an apple-crisp white flesh, mild yet cucumber-true. Subtle hints of lemony flavor are revealed once the cucumber is ripened. When this variety ages its stripes fade.

More of their produce below!!!!!!

RIVER BOTTOM FARMS – HEIRLOOM TOMATOES (FROM LAKESIDE!)

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 Yellow Mortgage Lifter. 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!

HOLD YOUR HORSES!  ALL COASTAL SQUASHES ARE TAKING A GROWING BREAK FOR TWO WEEKS! GULP!

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 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 - Maryann 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 (LOTS OF NEW STUFF):

Padron Chile Peppers from Happy Quail Farms!!!!!!!!!  If you have never utilized the padrons before, take advantage of their fast-saute easiness and sweet, smoky peppery flavor.  Awesome appetizer!

Blueberries and Blackberries from Pudwill Farms

Black Mission Figs from Pudwill Farms

Purple-hulled Pink Eyes

They’re here!!!, Rich, sweet earthy and complex, unique and delicious, a stand-out bean with a short two-month season.

Passport Melons from Rancho Del Sol

Red Bok Choy from Coleman Farms! - Also known as Red Violet Tatsoi Hybrid, this is a unique bok choy vartiety The shiny leaves range in color from red-violet to dark purple, and they hold their color well even in the summer heat, although this variety also tolerates colder temperatures. Lightly textured, the spoon-shaped leaves have a mild mustard flavor.

New Cippolini Onion Mix from Windrose Farms - This is a mix of two very distinct and classic cipollini onions. The white is a Borrettana and the red, Genovese. The Borettana is the shape of a slightly ballooned button with a near transluscent finish, the flavor – mild and sweet. The Red Genovese is a little more rounded but still a button variety. It has a succulent flesh and extremely sweet flavor.

Zucchin Butternut Squash (HYBRID of Summer and Winter!) from Rancho Del Sol – It’s name:  Batopilas Squash and it offfers the best of both seasons, unique delicious and a must try!

Mandarin Oranges from Rancho del Sol - extremely sweet and so easy to peel it has been dubbed the “kid gloves” orange. , White Corn from Gloria Tamai Farms (sweet and ready for the grill!), Pineapple tomatoes from both Jaime Farms and Beylik Farms, Heirloom Cherokee Tomatoes from Tutti Frutti, Tigger Melons, Passport Melons, Boule D’or Melons, Lemon Cucumbers and Soyu Cucumbers from Rancho Del Sol, 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.  If you are still reading this and you have yet to experience the fermented pungency of the newest wave in garlic, try this!! It is amazing, different, addictive and will absolutely change your perception of garlic again.  Black garlic is cultivated and harvested right here in California and it is waiting to allure you…

Shelling beans update:

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

Cranberry

coming soon!!

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

Semi-Savoy Spinach from Rutiz Farms

Gapping: Squashes from Coastal Organics, Bloomsdale Spinach from Weiser Family Farms and several radish varieties from Jaime Farms – each week check back as they farmers check their progress daily.  One day they are in the ground an dthe next day..they could be out!

Exiting: Jerry’s Berries, Firecracker Lettuce, Cara Cara Oranges, 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!

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.

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

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.


More >

Demolition Derby!!

Our friend Joe of Dion International entered in this year’s Demolition Derby at the San Diego County Fair! He always supports us – can you see the logo on the rear above the tire? HE ROCKS!

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