Santa Monica Farmer's Market

beautiful meyer lemons, soon to be out of season

Last Saturday I tagged along with AOC's chef de cuisine, John, to the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. It was a cool little field trip for me and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I think I slowed him down though, distracting him with question while he was trying to concentrate on picking out pretty fingerling potatoes and meyer lemons. :)

Some of the farms AOC works with and their excellent produce include:
*Coastal Organics (Carpenters) - baby brussel sprouts, baby broccoli, many variety of greens, heirloom tomatoes in the summer
*McGrath - baby carrots, beets, greens like arugula & spinach, baby broccoli, berries
*Winrose - heirloom tomatoes; they have a later growing season and the tomatoes can be available up to October!
*Suncoast - cauliflower, brussel sprouts, squash blossoms in the summer
*Tamai - asparagus, cauliflower
*Coleman Family Farm - lettuces (*little gems), cavolo nero, spigarello, heirloom greens
*Weiser - potatoes, beautiful lettuces, romanesco

John commented that this year's weather has been kind of weird. Warm and dry in January and now cold and wet, which resulted in produce springing up and now getting it kind of rough. Right now is the "down time", but in one more month there will be more stuff out in the markets. He also said we might miss spring and just go right into summer because of this weird weather, therefore missing out on some spring produce.

bored but adorable farm dog stuck in van

It was really great to go out to the farmer's market with the chef de cuisine, meet the farms, where they are, and listen on what's going in the season. I find Chef Suzanne Goin's (chef-owner of AOC and Lucques) standards to support local farms and organic produce really inspiring. And just seeing the beautiful ingredients and the people who care enough to produce them was great. Making that connection between a beautiful dish and the source of those ingredients makes a more fuller culinary experience for me. It makes me care more about what I do not only when I cook and eat but how my actions can affect the land where my food comes from. I can't wait to goto the bigger Wednesday market sometime!

eye-candy for the home, a pin cushion flower, which originates from Africa

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