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Farmers’ Market Report:

Summer fruit is getting better each week as the weather heats up and fruit picks up sugar and more flavor. One of the more interesting summer fruits to sample is the “out of this world” shaped donut or Saturn peach. This white-fleshed peach is flat with bulging edges and a pit in its indented center. Its skin has lovely blushing pink highlights on a pale yellow-white background, and is a sweet, juicy peach to nibble. White fleshed nectarines and peaches range in character and flavor from the bland to the outstanding, depending on the variety and how it has been brought up for market. The best thing to do is to sample each fruit variety before buying, and don’t be afraid to buy slightly firm fruit especially if a taste reveals flavor that promises to pop. Really firm peaches and nectarines can be halved and placed upon a hot grill, turned over and the pit cavity filled with a little balsamic vinegar. Roasted fresh fruit takes on the flavor of a baked cobbler, and the outer flesh develops a nice caramelized look and taste.

There are also some planetary-like summer squashes to be had – specifically the bright yellow Sunburst squash, which is round and flat with pointed edges that look like rays of the sun. Jaime Farm also grows an heirloom Sunburst, which is a variegated green and yellow, as well as a small bi-color crookneck and a cure, round “Eight Ball” that is perfect for single-serving stuffing. Summer squash is very low in calories and carbs and can be used in hundreds of recipes from cakes to lasagna. Tiny zucchinis with their large yellow blossoms still attached are a cook’s dream. They can be stuffed in the blossom end with cheese then fried whole, or they may be completely chopped up, flowers and all, and added to fillings for quesadillas.

A look around the market also reveals some light yellow wax beans – these are piled high next to the Blue Lake green beans and the two beans air beautifully in hot or cold salads. Yellow beans tend to be a little more tender than the green beans, so they should be carefully watched during their brief cooking period. A multi-bean salad is a wonderful thing to make at this time of year. You can incorporate yellow wax and green beans with snap peas, shelling peas, some favas, the rare garbanzo beans from Flora Bella Farm and some sprouts for a delicious and healthful summer salad. Cooked beans also add texture and interest to summer potato salads, and they are wonderful to carry around in a cup with a bit of homemade aioli (mayonnaise) to dip them in. If you missed the recent cooking demonstration with Joe Miller, you can find his recipe for summer bean salad with a slightly more elaborate corn foam topping on the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market website: farmersmarket.santa-monica.org.

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