What's in PEAK season in the Bay Area right now?
I think it depends on from what farm (and which microclimate) In my produce box from Terra Firma the corn and tomatoes are getting to be very good. Strangly, the green beans are done already. Melons are getting better, but I wouldn't say they've peaked yet. Basil and squash are both good. Terra Firma is in Winters (kind of near Davis)
Based on the newsletter I get from eatwell it seems as though everything is MUCH later than usual this year due to the spring rains which prevented many local farmers from being able to plant their fields. Some folks were able to get out there earlier than others but things that usually come out in early-June still aren't ready to be picked. These same rains also knocked out a lot of the tree fruit crops which may explain why there are fewer stone fruits available this year. Just this week early girls and melons are starting to arrive. Being attached to a single farm really makes you aware of just how seasonal seasonal eating is. Here's to indian summer!
I always check with cuesa.org to find out what is in season.
If you sign up for their every-friday email newlsetter, they have a list of what's current at the market:
Last week's list:
2. Armenian Striped cucumbers
3. Early Girl tomatoes
4. Ambrosia melons
5. Brown Turkey figs
7. White nectarines
8. Mixed bouquets
9. Queso fresco
10. Apple cider vinegar
Here is the cuesa seasonality chart:
I wasnt impressed at all with peaches and nectarines last year, but this year there are quite a few I like. I prefer quite acidic stone fruit and there seems to be more of it around than usual.
I actualy got some surprisingly impressive heirlooms that did have flavour, but I forget from which vendor - it wasnt the big one in the middle of the back of the Ferry P farmers market. it was one of the smaller vendors on the front side.
Radishes are good right now!
And I found tomatillos for the first time this year at the Marin FM last week, and oh yay, Happy Quail have rhubarb at last. They told me they would have it a few more weeks.
Huh - I just lost my initial reply. Maybe too many people were excited about this topic!
I'd add beets to the list above. They're so sweet right now! I just roast with olive oil in a hot oven, peel and splash with balsamic and S&P.
I got beets and some beautiful, tender spinach with huge leaves from the Green Gulch stand at the Sat Farmer's Mkt. last week. All their greens looked amazing - kale, chard and lettuce.
I haven't tasted a tasty tomato yet. I bought some pretty ones 2 weeks ago and they were just plain watery - no flavor. I'm guessing they'll be better at the end of the month?
re: Melanie Wong
Good tip, the only catch is that you can't always get the stuff Chez Panisse does (especially produce from Knoll or that Japanese family's farm down toward LA).
One sign of how market-driven they are is shown by the change in last night's menu. The main course was announced at the beginning of the month (on the Monday Night Dinners menu) as:
Brine-cured Laughing Stock Farm pork loin with green beans, shell beans, and sweet corn pudding
But since shell beans and corn are so late, the menu put up on Saturday was:
- Fig and green bean salad with aged goat cheese and jamón serrano
- Poulet à la piperade: Braised and grilled Hoffman Farm chicken with sweet and hot peppers in the Basque manner
- Roasted Frog Hollow Farm peach with crème anglaise
By Monday they managed to get some perfect, very ripe raspberries somewhere, so they added those to the dessert.
Where they got red peppers for the piperade I dunno ... maybe a conserve? Should have asked Gordon.
re: Morton the Mousse
re: Robert Lauriston
The Early Girl and Cherry Tomatoes from Tip Top are very good - they're my standard for early season tomatoes. I've been less impressed by the heirlooms at other farms. Of course, none of them compare to the late season dry farm from Quetzal and Dirty Girl.
I get all my peaches from Ram Das and the Red Havens are just phenomenal right now.