Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feeding on fresh

It's been a weird couple of weeks of weather for us here in Southern California.  Last week saw summerlike temps in th 70s and 80s at the beginning, and rain by Wednesday and through the weekend even into Monday (so many consecutive days of rain is definitely not normal--but we need it)!  We had a bit of a respite from the wetness from yesterday, but it's still pretty chilly (we Califonians think that 50s = brrr).  And it looks like we might get some more rain by the end of the week.

dsc08114So I feel very lucky to have had sunshine and been able to make it out to today's farmers market, with one of my co-workers, to boot.  I am fortunate to have not one, but two farmers markets each week, right here in Downtown.  Back in the day I used to only window shop; if I made any purchases they'd usually be kettle corn to share with my officemates, and flowers as a treat for myself.

But since my siblings and I started to get together to cook family dinners for our parents and one another over a year ago, I started to buy fruits--especially pluots in the summer--for dessert.  From there I gradually expanded to greens and veggies.  We especially like the golden cherry tomatoes and asparagus.  Another fave is corn.  (Why did I take pics of artichokes and cauliflower, then, you ask?  One can hope!)


As I got more and more into my Love Earth campaign, the bi-weekly farmers market seemed a matter of course: not only was I eating (and feeding my family) local, but taking a brief walk down the street during my lunch hour was also cutting down on trips to the supermarket.  I love it when Love Earth makes my life simpler, too!

Among my resolutions include eating something that I've grown myself, eating along with the seasons, and expanding my cooking repertoire.

I love seeing how the seasons change as different fruits and veggies are available. This week there are bunches of beautiful beets and radishes, artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower, tons of different salad greens, and zucchini.  There is also a booth that sells Asian veggies, like bok choy, eggplant, and all sorts of stuff that I don't know the names for in English--yum!

Fruits-wise, it's vastly citrus and berries.  I am in awe at the variety of citrus there are: tangelo, oro blanco, ruby grapefruit, pomelo, blood orange, navel orange, clementine, satsuma.  And on and on.  I especially like the tasting stations, where you an really appreciate how different each of these looks on the inside, as well as the range of flavors!  My must-go-to is always the ruby grapefruit, but this season the lady at the stall told me that this has been the best oro blanco harvest she's ever had.  So I tried it.  And it's tasty!  So today I bought more!

fm samples   fm strawberries   fm berries

Of course, the flowers are always eye-catchers.  Two weeks ago I brought home some ranunculus, and they're still blooming on my dining table!  I have always thought them adorable but never had any of my own.  Now they are way up there with peonies among my favorites!  Today, the newbies I noticed were huge, taller-than-me branches of budding plum blossom, and bunches of sweet-smelling lilac, which I thought didn't grow out in these warm temps.  It makes me smile to see men in their business suits with a bunch of flowers wrapped in brown craft paper.  Or a lady walking by with an armful of stock or lilies in one arm.  Very Clarissa.

My food resolutions are pretty ambitious, considering my eating habits and purchases thus far have remained squarely in the box of "Familiar."  In fact, I want to start making menus--which, though it can be seen as a sort of staying-in-the-box measure, is intended for me to put more time into what I consume, both digestively and financially.  I must admit that today's purchases were pretty wimpy: a basket of strawberries in addition to the oro blancos.  They will be nice breakfast treats or snacks.

I'm stoked about trying harder and being able to experiment more, with the encouragement of one of my brothers and his girlfriend--who are humanitarian vegetarians--and DC, who simply loves veggies.  Hope to be sharing some of my hits (and misses, as undoubtedly there will be) here!

1 comment:

  1. i am so envious of your winter farmers' market! Up here, we're stuck with non-local stuff at the grocery stores. Our farmers' markets run only from May to November. :(