Winter days are long, dark and, as of recently, cold, and people sometimes tend to forgo fresh produce for comfort food to warm the bones. Many fruits and vegetables are at their peak in these winter months. Winter is peak time for citrus. Pink ruby grapefruits are sweet as can be, so be on the lookout for them at your citrus grower’s stand. Tangerines continue to be brought to market and are getting sweeter and sweeter each week. Coming up soon will be blood oranges and tangelos, both tangy and delicious. Kiwis are an exclusively winter fruit and are at their peak right now. Persimmons are reaching the end of their season but are at their flavor peak. Many vegetables get sweeter as the weather gets colder. Root vegetables like beets, rutabagas, turnips and parsnips are at their best. Hearty greens like kale and collard greens should not be missed this time of year.
The end of the year is a time to look back as well as ahead. This has been an exciting and delicious year at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. This December marks the end of a six-month-long celebration of the Market’s 25th Anniversary. Hill Street Studios took professional portraits of the farmers, some of which rode on the sides of the Big Blue Bus all summer long. The farmer portraits were also on display at City Hall and Bergamot Station. Over the summer, farmers, chefs and food writers gathered to discuss all things food-related at our Library Panels. To bring an end to our anniversary celebration, many of the restaurants that shop at the Markets generously donated gift certificates for dinner as part of our customer appreciation drawing.
Progressive things keep popping up at the Main Street Farmers’ Market. In April, to coincide with Earth Day, that Market became the first Zero Waste Farmers’ Market in California. Absolutely everything purchased at the market can be either recycled or composted, including plates, cups, forks and knives. Later in the year, validated beach parking became available for customers, as well as free parking at SMASH. A bike valet was also implemented to support loyal customers who travel on bike to Main Street. So far all of these programs have been well received.
The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market will continue to sponsor exciting events in the New Year. Keep an eye out for the return of Library Panels that will be held quarterly at the Santa Monica Main Library. “No Cook” Cooking Classes for kids and teens will continue at the Main, Fairview and Montana libraries.
The Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets wish you a happy and healthy New Year. Thank you for supporting California Farmers’ and Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets.