Farmer's Markets

Love this time of year when the Farmer's Markets start opening then followed in June by the produce stands selling fresh strawberries. What produce do you look forward to at the markets? From berries to potatoes, I love them all!

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Lionhead E. May 18, 2016
Like many others I look forward to buying and eating summer berries, tomatoes, and stone fruits. Also I enjoy seeing the ever changing variety of flowers the florist vendors have. Last week bought a gorgeous bouquet of coral peonies and tulips!
scruz May 17, 2016
caninechef, we have a local strawberry developed where i am and it is extremely perishable but so good. you need to eat them same day. smaller, sweet, ripe all the way through but they bruise if you look at them.
scruz May 17, 2016
i look forward to the best - route 1 farms - romaine lettuce. superb.
creamtea May 15, 2016
Ramps, green garlic, spring onions, black raspberries, local strawberries, tomatoes, apricots, plums, sour cherries.
QueenSashy May 15, 2016
Oh my, how can one choose?! Lemon verbena (I like to make lemon verbena simple syrup for cakes, pies and ice cream. Cocktails too.). White peaches... I love when summer squashes show up in all different varieties -- I buy one or two of each variety and roast them in the oven, like a summer squash medley, and then sprinkle with herbs, goat cheese and balsamic (it's my favorite summer dish). Fairy-tale eggplants. Then later in the season, Damson plums and heirloom tomatoes.
BerryBaby May 15, 2016
We have a fruit orchard near us that allows for self-picking only. The peaches are magnificent, but once you get the notice they are ready to pick, you need to have the car keys ready! People flock there for the incredible fruit which is only $1.00 a pound, peaches, plums, apricots, apples the seasons overlap so I'm out there quite often. So relaxing.
Jan W. May 14, 2016
Fava beans and more fava beans. Chilies of all sorts later in the summer. Then in August come the black raspberries, peaches, apricots, and most of all my favorite plums - greengages, mirabelles, damsons, and red plums. Also I love buying ugly tomatoes for half price - once they're sliced or in a salad nobody would ever know - plus they taste great.
702551 May 14, 2016
My town's farmers market runs all year long, so I never cease to see something interesting and it's wonderful to see the changing of the seasons (yes, even here in California) by the produce availability.

Fresh strawberries are sold year round at my market, but they are at their peak for about three months. We've been enjoying really good strawberries for several weeks now. The stone fruits have been around for a few weeks: cherries, apriums, peaches. The latter are the early ripening cultivars -- I haven't yet seen doughnut peaches, but they must be right around the corner.

Beans and peas galore right now: blue lakes, yellow wax, English peas, sugar snaps, snowpeas, favas.

Potatoes are available year round so I don't focus on these like other seasonal produce.

Only a week or two left for asparagus, the two-month season is almost over. In the dead of winter when I'm mostly staring at piles of leafy greens, carrots and potatoes, I always anticipate the asparagus harvest, the first indicator of spring.

Two things I really look forward to are olallieberries (late May/early June) and Blenheim apricots (early July) since their availability is so short, maybe three weeks.

Gravenstein apples which arrive a couple of months before most of the other apples are a nice summer market choice.

There are countless other things I look forward to seeing at the farmers market, I've only mentioned a handful. There's always a reason to go to the farmers market, even on a rainy morning in January.
702551 May 15, 2016
Today's seasonal berries: olallieberries, loganberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries. Probably the last week of mulberries; the white ones that were around last weekend were absent today.

Also making their first appearance of the season are doughnut peaches.

Clearly, asparagus are at the end of the season, today's bunch will probably be the last of the year.

Cherries galore, including Rainiers which were very scarce last week, now plentiful.

Spotted a second time this season were fresh sardines from Half Moon Bay. Small ones, bought six of them for a buck, destined for the grill this afternoon.

Awesome time of the year.

Probably a couple of weeks away from the first ears of corn. I could have asked the Brentwood guys when they would start picking but I'm okay with them appearing magically. Better to know at the tail end of the season when something is about to disappear.
caninechef May 16, 2016
Question on local Strawberries, assuming you are in California or some other big agriculture state that ships a lot of produce: Do they have special varieties of strawberries for local consumption versus the varieties they ship to the colder parts of the country? I'm in the northeast and strawberries shipped from California( hard, dry) are a pitiful version of the local varieties, soft, sweet and not designed for shipping. Ditto peaches. These are my favorite fruit but only local, would not bother to buy in grocery store. For some reason shipped nectarines seem much better than shipped peaches. -- daughter of a former fruit farmer.
702551 May 16, 2016
The two most common cultivars I see at my farmers market are Seascapes and Albions. There are many five or six stands that regularly sell strawberries and I haven't asked each one which cultivar(s) they sell. I go by taste and I patronize one particular organic grower. My guess is that there are one or two other cultivars being sold at my farmers market.

The ones that are destined for wide distribution may be different cultivars that are sturdier and likely picked earlier to survive transportation better. For sure, the berries at my farmers market are way better than what is found in a standard supermarket. Of course, the local upscale grocery stores are getting fruit from the same local growers.

As you note, nectarines tend to travel better and I assume that because of the skin of the nectarine is hardier than that of a peach. I note that doughnut peaches are extremely fragile as the skins are almost like tissue paper which is why they don't make it into regular grocery stores.

If you look at Food52's weekly Saturday morning farmers market inspiration posts, you can see that we have some really great produce at our local farmers markets (typically anywhere from 2 to 4 of the posts are from Californians).
Susan W. May 16, 2016
Canine Chef, I have gotten to know a couple of produce farmers quite well. There are many Oregon berries that are not shipped anywhere because they are not sturdy shippers. They also happen to be our best berries. There is one strawberry that makes me swoon that has a short season and stays within 50 miles of where they are grown. Also, to ship berries from the West Coast to East Coast is a long trip and they would not survive if picked at their peak ripeness.

I'm from San Diego and our home in La Jolla has 32 avocado trees on the property. The Fuerte are my favorite. I learned long ago they are not often shipped (if ever) because of their thin skin and delicate nature. That may have changed more recently. I just wait to devour them when I go home for a visit.
Susan W. May 14, 2016
Our Oregon berries can't be beat. Walking up to Parsons Farms today. I'll let you know what's happening there. :)
mstv May 14, 2016
Local strawberries!
pierino May 14, 2016
Artichokes. Melons. Locally grown, exotic herbs such as nepitella aka "Roman mint".
Jan W. May 14, 2016
I always love it when the melons come out, especially the incomparable charentais melons, piel de sapo, and moon & stars watermelon.
pierino May 14, 2016
If you like charentais try this
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