*Before I begin, I’d like to apologize for this belated post. I spent a splendid weekend in Napa Valley with Virginia and completely forgot about the existence of reality for several days. Yountville is magical because of The French Laundry’s Garden.
This entry is dedicated to the farmers’ market that started it all. In this open space at La Jolla elementary school, I discovered my love for farmers’ market three years ago. This is the place that has been motivating me to wake up early on every Sunday morning. This is where Virginia and I discovered our shared passion for the culture of farmers’ markets. This is the reason why Markethoppers exists.
Growing from having merely 15 vendors in 1998, La Jolla Open Aire Market has expanded to a familiar market in the neighborhood, hosting over 100 vendors each Sunday morning from 9am to 1pm.
Through these years of constant visits to La Jolla Open Aire Market, I have grown a dependence on Behneman Farms’ citrus. Whether it’s the blood orange and naval mix or their sweet Valencia, I have been an advocate of these vibrant fruits. As I have yet to encounter oranges and grapefruits in LA that are as satisfying as the ones from Behneman Farms, I have been driving down to SD regularly to ensure my daily intake of these vitamin-C rich fruits.
I have yet to find a way to accurately describe what’s so awesome about their oranges and grapefruits. These citrus just taste so honest. They appeal to me so much that I refuse to get oranges anywhere else… well, maybe the ones from Trader Joe’s when I run out and can’t drive to SD over the weekend to restock. Yes, I am that obsessed with Behneman.
Remember the romanesco broccoli that I wrote about in the Little Italy Mercato post? Suzie’s Farm introduced me to this quirky variant form of cauliflower back when it’s in season. Located 13 miles south of Downtown San Diego, Suzie’s Farm is one of the closest organic farms that participate in 10 local farmers’ markets. Besides introducing fresh organic produce to San Diegans, Suzie’s Farm offers CSA boxes for subscription and farm tours to educate people about the true cornucopia way of agriculture.
I adore Suzie’s Farm because they offer unique produce that can’t be found from other vendors. Edible flowers, China rose radish, white cucumbers–I thought I knew enough varieties of vegetables until I discovered all these surprising organic goods from Suzie’s Farm.
In case you’re wondering, these white cucumbers taste and smell just like regular cucumber, but the distinctive color can definitely brighten up any dish.
It’s summer, that means my favorite white peaches are officially in season. I’ve been an avid fan of Japanese white peaches since 2009, when a nice lady offered me a sample in grocery store in Osaka. American grown peaches are regretfully not as scrumptious as the ones I found in Japan, but I am still very excited to reacquaint with these elegantly sweet and aromatic stone fruits every summer at farmers markets.
These beautiful organic donut peaches were Lone Oak Ranch. Internet friends, I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to eat organic produce, especially for fruits like peaches. Do you ever see non-organic fruits labelled as “BUY ME! I’M GLAZED WITH TOXIC AND SOMETIMES UNREGULATED CHEMICALS!” ? No, you don’t because of the cunning nature of businesses. I doubt that any of you guys want to consume pesticides and toxins covered peaches and eventually suffer from the consequences.
Enough with the fear tactic. Lone Oak Ranch has been around for decades. These guys know that they grow awesome peaches every summer; it’s predictable to see a small crowd gathering in front of their stand every weekend.
As soon as you walk up, generous slices of peaches are handed to you. Prepare a napkin with you because these peaches are so juicy and sweet that your hand might attract a flock of bees afterwards.
As I approached the egg guy in LJFM, I noticed that he had 2 kinds of farm-fresh eggs: Free-range and Pastured.
Now comes the question: What do those labels even mean?
Both locally raised, these eggs are priced with $1 difference. Free range, by the sound of the label, is usually perceived as appealing. Freedom and liberty, two of the ideals that our nation’s founding fathers so admired, are also seemingly promoted by “free range” eggs. But the truth is–my internet friends, I hate to disappoint you–farmers can put this label on as long as the hens spend part of their time outside, even if they are living in a condition looking like this.
I hope you clicked the link, because you’ll see how apparently misleading “free range” is. There’s no chicken openly roaming on a large meadow with adorable wild daisies, there’s no child befriending his first pet hen, there’s no President Washington, smiling at the flock of happy hens, exclaiming, “I’m so glad that freedom and liberty can also be found in domestic birds that diligently try to fly.”
If I were a hen and my job were to lay wonderful eggs (okay, this is an awkward hypothetical condition, but I’m leaving it.), I’d much rather be laying pastured-raised eggs. I would have the opportunity to roam around on actual pastures and be fed with an organic diet. That sounds like a Californian life, and I like living in California.
Of course, my words might not be sufficient to explain these often misunderstood terms. If you really care about what kind of eggs you’re eating, please watch this. A cloud of confusion shall be forever dissipated.
La Jolla Open Aire Market
Every Sunday 9AM – 1PM, CORNER OF GIRARD AVENUE & GENTER STREET