Wanna know how cold it was. Too frigid for apples. One farmer stood in the cold; when a hearty customer arrived, she would bang on the truck door. Her partner, with the better end of the deal, would pass along a bag from the stash. Cold.
- "Vital Information", regarding an Ann Arbor, MI farmers market in January.
I am constantly humbled by how fortunate we are to live in the Bay Area foodshed. Here it is the middle of winter, and we have many farmers markets to choose from and can still come home from the market with our bags laden with fruits and vegetables.
"Please find me just one avocado," I have been begging Will Brokaw every time I see him. "Sorry, not for a few weeks," he tells me sadly. I have been craving avocados and the winter hiatus in the avocado season seems longer than ever this year. But two weeks ago, after eating a sub-par, underripe ("watery fat" a friend of mine called them at this stage) avocado, I thanked Will for holding out and not putting out avocados before they're ready. It will be a while longer for Will's avocados, but he is offering us a new crop of delicious kumquats in the meantime.
Steve from Rancho Gordo had a new offering for us this week: dried Chiles de Arbol. I'm looking forward to making something fun with these super spicy delights. While a few are being reserved for a pickled lime recipe that I'm in the process of making, I think I'll try out this recipe from Orangette for the bulk of them.
Have I mentioned Tory Farms? I first learned of Tory during a June Taylor conserve class, when she mentioned the farm's stone fruit several times. Tory joined the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market within the past couple of years, and I have been a fan since day one. Their stone fruit is very good in the summer, but right now they are bringing spectacular citrus fruit to the market. Namely, Paige Mandarins and Oro Blanco grapefruits. They are located in the back, right under the Ghandi statue.
Achadinha Cheese Company is a weekly stop for me. Farmer and cheesemaker Donna Pacheco brings goat cheeses to the market from Petaluma. I've been buying the feta cheese lately -- it's cured in a sea salt brine and a great addition to my weekly salads and pastas. A hint: if you can think of it, bring a jar for the feta cheese. Donna is happy to give it to you in a ziploc, but I find that my cheese arrives home more safely when it's in a jar.
Overall, it's a great time to get to the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. The CUESA newsletter says that we can look forward to spring vegetables this month including asparagus, spring garlic and cippolini onions.