Every Wednesday, hundreds of people venture to the intersection of Arizona and 2nd in search of fresh produce. The farmers' market spans approximately 3 1/2 blocks and includes a mix of generic, organic, and pesticide free items. From what I understand, the Saturday market in the same location is Organic-only. After trying out a few other local markets, I have decided that the SMFM is not only one of the largest markets, but perhaps the best on the Westside. In the last few months I have checked out Culver City, El Segundo and a few others I can't remember. Each time, I was disappointed. Those markets were small and had more vendors selling prepared food than produce. I want fruit and veggies, dammit!
Today was a great day to hit the market. The weather was beautiful, the breeze was mild, and parking wasn't too tragic. Yeah, parking in Santa Monica sucks on Wednesdays. My cousin also came out with the twins, Misters Eli and Noah, who, at the age of almost one, were just as enthralled with all the new sights as I was. Plus they got to sit under the dinosaurs and dance to the music on the promenade while blowing raspberries at me. I love those dinosaurs. They're just so cool. I guess the kids are pretty decent, too. Except when they're pulling my hair or necklace, but that's another story altogether.
I didn't leave with tons of stuff mostly because it was more of a field trip than a food trip. I did, however, purchase kale, dandelion leaves, fava beans and yellow squash. Can you believe I have never eaten the first three of these things? Yep, no kale, dandelion or fava for me. Oh, and I think I lost my squash, but I hope it's in the stroller in the back of my cousin's car. I'm really excited to try all of these veggies out in different dishes, but I have a question to ask first. When I got home, I bit into a dandelion leaf. Talk about bitter. Gah. The thing is, the food bloggers are all abuzz over these leaves. What's the deal? Do I eat only small amounts mixed with other ingredients? Do I mask the flavor? Do I need to only eat them cooked? What are your favorite ways to dampen the bitterness and enjoy their unique flavor? The vendor told me to eat them with tomato, chickpeas, olive oil, balsamic and with a little parmesan on top, but I'm not sure if I need to cook them first.
While you consider my questions (or not), have a look below at the photos I managed to capture.
Large pumpkin-like squash. And no, I certainly did not lose
one of these massive things. I'm not that ridiculous.
A variety of greens.
Massive daikon. I have so many inappropriate things to say.
Just beet it...
Jumbo, purple and thin asparagus.
A carb addict's dream: a rainbow of potatoes.