It's an exciting time around the farmers market these days. I hadn't been to the market for about two weeks, and was amazed at how much the market changed in a short amount of time. There is a promise of summer fruit in the air, and the spring vegetables are in abundance. Here are some of the things I am looking forward to this month:
Cherries are making their way to the market, and should be available for approximately a month. We usually see the Brooks variety cherry first which is a crisp, tart cherry. That will be followed by Bing cherries, Rainier and sour cherries among other varieties. I am partial to Bing cherries from Lagier Ranch -- Mr. Lagier brings them to the market when they're perfectly ripe and delicious. This year, I will be keeping an eye out for sour cherries, as they make for a delicious brandied fruit which can then be used throughout the year for cocktails and desserts.
A while back, I told you about new potatoes -- the beginning of the season potatoes that are spectacular in flavor and freshness. I'm happy to report that they are back and I spotted them at the Berkeley Farmers Market last week at the Full Belly Farm booth. They are expected at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in the next month or so.
Denise told you about making a pea soup this week, and I am looking forward to trying out that recipe. The fact of the matter is that my peas rarely make it past the shelling stage as I usually eat them raw or slightly steamed. But if you have the willpower, now is an excellent time to shell and freeze peas. My favorite place to purchase them is the Swanton Berry Farm booth that is in many local farmers markets.
Northern California is very lucky: our strawberries have an extremely long fruit season, and we will have them around for a while. Still, this is the perfect time to buy strawberries and freeze them if you can. If you have room, I suggest hulling the berries and freezing on a large cookie tray before storing in a freezer bag. I buy mine from Lucero Farm and from Yerena Farm.
This is not really a seasonal product, but I just wanted to give a shout-out for Greg Massa's excellent Almond Butter. You may know Massa Organics farm for selling really delicious brown rice at many Bay Area markets. If you check his booth carefully, you will notice an almond butter that he has been producing for a few months. I am addicted to this almond butter, and highly recommend trying it. It's pricey, but if you eat almond butter as slowly as I do, you'll only be making the investment every few months.
What are you looking forward to at the market this month?