cucinanicolina

To the Fields

23 June 2007

How sweet I roamed from field to field, and tasted all the summer’s pride. — Wllm. Blake

It’s my season, at last.

Oh, today was a lovely day. A luxurious sleep-in until 9.30, then breakfast, then a trip to the newly discovered Fillmore Street farmer’s market. It was a day in San Francisco that felt like fall — that cool, crisp, breezy air — but it wasn’t cold, and the sun shone all the while. The air tasted clean and fresh coming in off the ocean; if I could see it, I’d have to say it was sparkling.

What else to do, then, but to get outside and forage for vegetables? And I’m so glad I did — my neighborhood market reminded me of all the little farmers’ markets in Washington, which I came to know well three years ago when my brother was working for Virginia’s Wheatland Vegetable Farm.

I like the Ferry Building market very much, but unless I want to walk for over an hour, it’s only accessible by bus; on Saturday mornings, the best morning of the whole week, I want to save my time. Also, it’s always so crowded on the weekends and I usually don’t wake up nearly early enough to beat the rush and I end up just forgoing it altogether and waiting for Tuesday.

So it’s utterly delicious there’s now a good farmers’ market just a five-minute walk from my apartment. And with so much organic produce! In the picture above, you’ll see baby salad greens with edible flowers, cucumbers, fingerling potatoes, a pepper, strawberries, and white nectarines — all organic. And this was not even the entire haul: I also got three heirloom tomatoes (for a soup), an eggplant (not for me, however), and a red onion.

Next week I will have to try the bread (from Sonoma County, so it must be good) and the bing cherries if they don’t sell out (today I waited just a tad too long and saw the last few baskets disappear before my eyes). The experience was sweetened by listening to a jazz quartet while perusing the produce and chatting with the friendly growers.

What I love about shopping for my fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ markets is that it challenges me — this week, OK, I have a lot of squash and chard, so how I can use them up in interesting ways? Should I bake with the peaches, or just eat them in long, juicy slices? I try to hold off a mad dash to the store to get mushrooms; maybe I can just do without when I have so many other things from which to choose. Of course, everything tastes so much better when it’s been picked in the last few days.

Plus, supporting your local organic farmer is sure to earn some good-cooking karma down the road.

Just look at those tomatoes:

To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour. — Wllm. Blake

  • John C Abell 25 June 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Before ambition lured me from the New York City nest I had made for 32 years, I too could not imagine living anywhere else but the place which had molded me. But your takes on SF — which I have seen exactly twice for visits which can be measured in hours — make me yearn for the city by the bay as if there were no place else on Earth. Please, please — have mercy!