The Weekly Report
The weather in Northern California has been glorious…until yesterday. I arrived at the market to a gloomy sky and by days end, the sky was filled with rain and wind. Although it’s been a wet winter and California certainly needs as much water as it can get, I’m about done with the rain.
Rains brings challenges for farmers. For strawberry farmers it’s mold. And at Iacopi Farms, the first english pea crop was ruined due to rain.
Weather challenges aside, there were plenty of options at the market this week.
Yep, the first fava beans arrived. Fava beans are a laborious vegetable that I happen to think are worth the effort. It’s a two step process to get to the actual eating: Removing the beans from the pod, and then boiling them to remove the “skin” from the bean. You’ve got to really love who you choose to cook fava beans for;)
But, I have a tip for you. You can grill the whole pod which will open up the pod and enable you to pop the bean from the pod making the process a whole lot quicker. This Whole Grilled Fava Bean recipe will have you bagging up these seasonal treats!
As mentioned earlier, English peas arrived at the market last week. A bit later than usually due to the first crop being wiped out by rain. The pods look a bit haggard but inside lay sweet green orbs. Peas are another vegetable that requires some work to reap rewards, but the taste is far superior to the frozen or canned variety. Removing the peas from the pods is a great job for little hands. Not only do kids learn how peas are grown, it’s an opportunity to have them sit in the kitchen and talk while they pluck the peas from their pods.
You may find sugar snap peas, ramps and morel mushrooms, I didn’t but this is the time of year when they’ll show up. However, plenty of artichokes, asparagus, beets, fennel, carrots, radishes, green garlic, spring onions, leeks, broccoli, and greens of all kinds were lined up in farmers stalls.
UPDATE: Today, Sunday, I found sugar snap peas. No ramps or morels.
It’s pretty sparse out there still. I found only strawberries and citrus-and the strawberries I tasted were excellent! It’s about this time of year I’m thankful I froze berries last year. They are perfect for smoothies and hold up well in baked goods such as crisps.
UPDATE: Also at the market today were kiwi and rhubarb!
Farmers’ markets offer more than delicious fruits and vegetables. Notably this time of year are flowers. Many are so seasonal that they are only at the market for two to three weeks. Ranunculus, tulips, dogwood, iris and lilac to name a few. I picked up a bunch of lilac and not only are they beautiful but their smell is outrageous!
Have a great weekend!