Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food Field Trip: Santa Monica Farmers' Market

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...

Funky flowers.

 Jumbo, purple and thin asparagus.

A carb addict's dream: a rainbow of potatoes.

 Fava beans.


TasteHongKong said...

Beautiful greens, roots and giant squashes except that I also have some inappropriate things to say about the daikon...
I always eat greens cooked, frying them with a generous amount of chopped garlic and seasoning them with sea salt.
Thanks for dropping by; I feel great talking to a sooner-not-later-barrister free of charge : ).

Liren {kitchen worthy} said...

Love the photos (and the captions!). I lived in Santa Monica for a short while, and I was in love with the Farmer's Market. One of the best, for sure! There was something fantastic about shopping for artichokes next to serious food buyers/chefs for local restaurants.

Now about those dandelion grills, I'm not too much help - only cooked them once or twice - both simply, sauteed with garlic, salt pepper, splash of balsamic. Hope you find a fun way to prepare them!

Liv Wan said...

Wow....those vegetables looks amazing. It's so fresh and must be tasty.

The Cilantropist said...

The photos look great, I can't wait to head to the farmer's market this weekend myself! (I live down in SD where we also have loads of markets) I have to apologize because I can't really help you out with your dandelion question, but I did want to see if you had ever seen this book?

When I saw your post it made me think of this book, which I am yearning to get despite the fact that I have never been to the Santa Monica Farmers Market. :) Maybe you should get it!

islandeat said...

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Kathy Gori said...

great post we used to shop there all the time whe we lived in Santa Monica!

s. said...

@TasteHongKong: The thing about the daikon is that they remind me of high school. I had this biology teacher in high school that was kind of odd. One day, while engaged in some related lesson, she whipped out a bunch of root vegetables. Except they didn't look like root vegetables. They looked like extra-large sex toys. Imagine the 9th graders giggling.

@Liren & Kathy: It's a seriously awesome market, no? I bet you have some great ones up north, Kathy.

@TheCilantropist: I've never seen that book before. I might hit up the library and see if they have it. It's where I get all my cookbooks these days. I'm poor.

@islandeat: thanks :) I know I already thanked you on twitter, but again!

Biren said...

Sounds like you had fun. I do enjoy farmer's markets.

Dinners and Dreams said...

Gorgeous produce. I love farmers' markets

Brightstone said...

what time does the market start and how long does it go on until?

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