I will be interviewing Thomas Odermatt, the mastermind behind Roli Roti. He is the purveyor of rotisserie chicken and porchetta-to-die-for. The interview takes place at 10.30 am in the North Arcade in front of the Ferry Building. You can see the CUESA website for further details.
Yesterday, I was invited to attend a party thrown at the Love Apple Farm in Ben Lomond. While the food was amazing, and the company was fun, I was most thrilled to be able to spend some time walking around the farm.
Love Apple Farm has one customer: Manresa Restaurant. I heard many guests tell hosts David and Pim that they hadn't seen them around the farmers market recently. Love Apple is the reason. Chef Kinch and farmer Cynthia Sandberg work together to decide what's grown, and what is needed for the restaurant. It's an amazing relationship, and a fantastic model for restaurants around the country. Chef Kinch is able to ask for vegetables to be grown to his exacting standards, which would not be efficient for larger farms to grow.
Get their produce while you can...Ella Bella is moving to Hawaii at the end of October to begin farming on land they can afford to own. The Watsonville-area land they currently farm on will be leased by Driscoll's organics, to grow organic berries. We will be sad to lose them!
Ella Bella has been one of my favorite market stops for years, and I am going to be so sad to see them go.
Eating locally has so many benefits, but one of my favorite benefits is the attachment we create to our farmers and our food. I was just a customer to the farmers of Ella Bella. They don't know me by name, and I say hi to them, but have no strong relationship. Yet, through the process of purchasing their food on a constant basis, they have become a part of my family. And just as if a dear friend were moving away, I cried at the news of their move.
I'm a glass-half-full kind of woman -- I am sure that Ella Bella Farm will be replaced by another fantastic farm. The few farm departures that have occurred in the past few years at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market seem to bring in new farms that I learn to love.
It's unfortunate that Ella Bella needs to move in order to be able to afford their land. It's unfortunate that a beautiful, polycultural farm is going to be replaced with a monocrop of corporate strawberries (albeit an organic monocrop). And it's unfortunate that we will be losing the Ella Bella color in our patchwork quilt of Bay Area farmers.
I realize that in my list I said I would do a post a day for 30 days. But friends, I am so dang tired. It's been a very long week, but pretty satisfying in general.
I "had" to go to the San Rafael Farmers Market this morning. I post about Bay Area farmers markets on Serious Eats about once a month, and I realized that I hadn't been to a market in a couple weeks. I needed some fodder for my post this upcoming Monday.
So off I went. I spied these lovely carrots at Marin Roots Farm. I am pretty sure that the carrots on the left are chantenay, but I like to call them Mr. McGregor's carrots.
I hope you can get to a market sometime soon, it's a fantastic time of year to be there.
I wrote an article for the most recent issue of Edible San Francisco called "Real Food for All." It looks at usage of public assistance moneys at farmers markets and starts to talk about whether it's feasible for San Francisco's poor to shop at farmers markets. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to write this article, as farmers market access for all populations is a critical question.
I will be interviewing Will Brokaw tomorrow as a part of the CUESA Meet the Farmer Program. Will is the "Avocado Man" and the farmer for Brokaw Nursery. Join me as I talk with Will about avocados, cherimoyas, kumquats and more.
When: Saturday, March 8 @ 10.30 am Where: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, front of building, North Arcade.
Between being in Southern California for 10 days and going to Sea Ranch for New Year's, I feel like I was in San Francisco for about 5 minutes last week.
As is the usual case when I've been out of town, I went to a farmers' market as soon as I could. Even when I don't need anything, going to a farmers' market grounds me and makes me feel like I'm home. Last week, the market of choice was the Thursday San Rafael Farmers' Market, and the cohort of choice was Stephanie.
The market last week was pretty unique. Many farmers were absent, having taken off the week between Christmas and New Year's, and many customers were missing. We spent much more time at the market than I expected -- mostly because it was so quiet that we were able to have long, leisurely conversations with some of the farmers. Everyone was chatty and in a good mood despite the fact that business was slow.
We ran into Jessica Boncutter, the chef at Bar Jules. She was talking to Dave Little of Little Organic Farm and I had to stop myself from gushing over her and how excited I am to try her restaurant. We spoke briefly and she went on her way. (We were especially excited to see her leave the market, laden with veggies, in her City Car Share Prius. She car shares! Just like me!)
We spoke with the farmer at De Santis farm and found out that she is expecting to be selling Bergamot oranges within the next couple of weeks.
My favorite purchase at the market on Thursday was organic Brussels sprouts from Orchard Farms, a farm located in Sebastopol. "Organic sprouts are hard to find," I commented to the farmer. "I'm the only one I know who has them," he replied.
I've heard from other farmers that organic Brussels sprouts are especially difficult to grow. So it's pretty unusual to find them, and when I do, they definitely aren't as pretty as conventional sprouts. These sprouts were pricey at $6 per pound, but I purchased a pound and brought them home.
Brussels sprouts are best eaten when they are small and young. According to Jeff Cox in The Organic Cook's Bible, they're difficult to find in this size outside of farmers' markets.
"Most Brussels sprouts are frozen and sold by packers, and they want sprouts that are between the standard 3/4 and 1 3/8 inches. Sprouts for the fresh market tend to be the frozen market's rejects -- bigger, older, stinkier, and tougher."
With the chaos of the past couple of days, I forgot that I had them in the fridge until today. Always susceptible to the blog posts of friends, I read Cookicrumb's post about her New Year's Day meal and remembered my sprouts. Though I didn't recreate her dish as planned, I sauteed them up and had them for lunch along with some Rancho Gordo Cellini Runner Beans (sauteed with olive oil, garlic and sage).
The great news is that we San Franciscans now have an additional farm which will be selling organic brussels sprouts: Swanton Berry Farm! I've been told that last week was the first week they were available, and they will have a few available at their Ferry Plaza booth (not sure about other markets) as they roll out this new crop.
I will be interviewing local jam maven June Taylor tomorrow at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market. The interview takes place at 10.30 am in the North Arcade in front of the Ferry Building. You can see the CUESA website for further details.
I've talked about Eatwell a lot on this site, and I really respect the way that Nigel runs his farm. Unfortunately, I can't be at the interview tomorrow and I wish I could because there are so many things happening at Eatwell right now.
The farm is going through a tough season. First there was the medfly quarantine that shortened their tomato crop, then about a week after that someone stole some of their chickens. This week my heart broke when I saw that Sadie, their working dog, was killed by a car and then someone killed some of their chickens (possibly related events, as Sadie may have gone to warn Nigel about the chicken thieves). Sadie was a lovely dog -- I had a chance to meet her when she was quite young a couple years ago. My heart really goes out to Nigel and the boys at this time.
If I were going to the farm interview tomorrow, I'd also also be curious to hear about Nigel's new foray into growing wormwood which is a rumored collaboration with St. George Spirits.
I was fortunate to be able to interview Kathy and Steve Fosmark yesterday for the article -- they are husband and wife and in the fishing industry. Talking to them really brought the devastation of this oil spill home for me -- when you are talking to real people whose livelihoods are being threatened by human error and slow response, it's hard to ignore what's happened.
One of the things I didn't talk about in the KQED article is the fact that the fishermen have been pushing to be part of an emergency response team, and are frustrated by the fact that this plan wasn't in place for the spill. My understanding is that the boats already are required to have equipment which would make them perfect soldiers to help contain an oil spill. And they are highly motivated to help in any way possible. All they need is the green light to be able to help.
As an update to this morning's post, the Governor has suspended fishing and crabbing until December 1 at the earliest. From the Chronicle article:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
issued an executive order late this morning suspending all fishing and
crabbing for human consumption in areas affected by the Cosco Busan
fuel spill until at least Dec. 1.
The ban includes all of San Francisco Bay, along with affected
shorelines, coastlines and waters of San Francisco, Alameda, Contra
Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma counties.