For the patrons who patiently sit out the recent turnips and stinging nettles of winter, right here’s a head’s up: Spring produce has formally arrived at farmers’ markets all through the Bay Space.
“Inexperienced garlic is the primary signal,” says Carolyn Jensen, a educated chef and meals influencer from Marin County who has faithfully shopped on the farmers’ market each week for the previous 25 years. “To me, inexperienced garlic is the signal that spring is simply across the nook.”
It’s additionally one of many 5 spring produce merchandise that Jensen says are must-buys at Bay Space farmers’ markets in early spring.
1. Inexperienced Garlic
Arriving at farmers’ markets in late February to early March, inexperienced garlic is the plant thinned from the rows of standard garlic which are harvested later within the yr, therefore, it’s only accessible for a couple of weeks. It has a gentle garlic taste and could be very tender. “It simply screams spring,” says Jensen.
How you can Serve It: Jensen chops up all the inexperienced garlic and sautes it with leeks and spring onions. The result’s a sort of “California spring mirepoix” that spends the following few weeks in all her dishes. “Use the combo in pasta, combine it with mayo as a sandwich unfold, or add it to omelets, vinegarettes, beans and salads.”
Asparagus simply hit the farmers’ markets within the final two weeks and the season could be very brief, solely lasting for about six weeks or so. Jensen recommends on the lookout for asparagus grown within the Sacramento River Delta, which is very tender and candy.
How you can Use It: “Asparagus and eggs are the right match,” says Jensen who recommends grilling it off-heat or steaming it shortly to protect a little bit of crunch. Then merely high it with a poached egg and bread crumbs or add it to a frittata. Jensen has additionally been including asparagus to a brand new potato salad with black, dry-cured olives, pickled purple onion, hard-boiled eggs and a tarragon French dressing.
There aren’t too many farmers’ markets on Earth the place you should buy child artichokes—so seize them in the event you see them. “We’re fortunate to stay simply exterior the artichoke capitals of the world in Castroville and Watsonville,” says Jensen, who says to additionally look ahead to a purple Italian varietal she has seen at NorCal markets currently.
How you can Use It: “We do a variety of steamed artichokes as a result of that’s how I grew up consuming them,” says Jensen, however provides that the child ones are nice in pasta, particularly when sauteed with the inexperienced garlic, leek and spring onion combine talked about above.
“Spring produce is tender and younger, you don’t must do quite a bit to it,” reminds Jensen. “It’s so flavorful you don’t wish to prepare dinner it an excessive amount of and take away from its delicate nature.”
4. Contemporary Peas
Eat them straight out of the shell or steam them and serve them with butter and pearl onions. “I don’t have something towards frozen peas—I exploit them too,” says Jensen. “However I can’t think about a greater spring facet dish than steamed recent peas with herbs.”
How you can Use It: “They’re not that widespread, a bit laborious and fairly costly, however in the event you’ve by no means had a recent pea, deal with your self to a bag this spring,” says Jensen. Search for these English shelling peas in brown paper baggage at native farmers’ markets.
“Although we’re very fortunate to stay in a state the place you’ll be able to technically discover recent strawberries on the farmers’ market all yr lengthy, the season actually begins in March,” says Jensen, who simply began to see strawberries arrive previously couple weeks. “They’re one other signal of spring and the beginning of what’s to return available in the market.” Winter storms had been particularly damaging to berry crops, making them that rather more particular this yr (and a bit dearer, too.)
How you can Use Them: Should you don’t eat the entire basket earlier than you get house, Jensen says she likes to make a fast jam with tremendous recent strawberries to eat on toast with peanut butter. “You simply want so as to add a little bit of sugar to the berries so that they launch their juices.” She additionally bakes a strawberry cake or scones to deliver to Easter and Passover brunches.
A Information to San Francisco Farmers’ Markets
The town has a farmers’ market occurring each day of the week. Take a look at the listing beneath of the place to seek out these spring “should buys” and the remainder of the Northern California bounty round city.
Bernal Heights | Sat. 6 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Open year-round.
Cooking for associates on Saturday evening and no time to wander? Head to Alemany. The town-run operation is open all day each Saturday and has a parking zone subsequent door. And with extra distributors than a 0.5 photograph can snap in your iPhone, you’ll discover every part you want and be again to your kitchen, fast. Get most of what you’ll need on the Tomatero Farm stand on the west finish. Owned and operated by town of San Francisco, “The Individuals’s Market” was the primary farmers’ market in California, based on August 12, 1943. Right now it serves the entire metropolis and northern peninsula from its Bernal Heights location close to the intersection of the 101 and 280 freeways.
San Francisco State College Campus | Thurs. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Faculty youngsters want recent produce too! Now again in motion after taking a Covid break, the Related College students runs a farmers’ market on campus each Thursday for college students, school and residents of the southwestern facet of town.
Castro | Wed. 3 p.m-7 p.m. from April 5 via November 15
One of the best mid-week summertime stock-ups happen close to the intersection of Market and Noe. Be part of residents of the Castro, Duboce and Higher Market at their neighborhood farmers’ market each Wednesday night for an informal stroll and the freshest fruits and veggies in SF.
Internal Richmond | Solar. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Lined with farmers and ready meals distributors from 2nd to 4th, Clement Avenue buzzes with a contented, younger vibe of significant consumers and aimless strollers. Fifth Crow Farm sells a dizzying array of Pescadero-grown richly hued veggies and domestically developed beans just like the King Metropolis Pinks. Full your buy with a cease at one of many many grocers and kitchen shops of the Internal Richmond purchasing mecca.
Decrease Haight | Solar. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Neighbors within the Decrease Haight beeline for the DMV parking zone on Sunday mornings. A number of rows of distributors provide recent produce, sustainable meats and ready meals in a handy Panhandle location between Fell and Oak on Broderick.
Embarcadero | Sat. 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Tues. and Thurs. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
By no means been? Buddies visiting from out of city? Saturday morning on the Ferry Plaza is nothing in need of a produce extravaganza and a must-see for anybody who eats meals. Greater than 100 distributors line the Embarcadero and wind across the Ferry Constructing, promoting something you’ll be able to develop, elevate or bottle. Don’t even take into consideration driving right here however do take into consideration staying afterward to wander the Ferry Constructing retailers or sitting down for a daytime beverage. A smaller model of the present takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Fillmore/Western Addition | Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Affiliation runs this handy cease on Fillmore simply south of O’Farrell Avenue. With 14 distributors, it delivers simply the correct amount of recent produce you want whereas a jazz trio gives ambiance and a nod to the neighborhood’s roots because the “Harlem of the West.”
Fort Mason | Solar. 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Fort Mason is Saturday’s go-to for northern metropolis dwellers, with a number of rows of farm stands, meat and seafood purveyors, a Hmong farmer who sells Chinese language broccoli and different Asian greens that we’re obsessive about, and a endless bread line at The Midwife and The Baker. Hosted by the Golden Gate Nationwide Park Service, the location is well reached by public transport or automobile, with parking proper subsequent to the distributors.
Civic Middle | Solar. 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Wed. 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
With quick access to BART and Muni, SF’s solely unbiased, grower-operated non-profit farmers’ market takes up the entire UN Plaza behind the Orpheum Theatre off Hyde Avenue. With greater than 40 distributors, the market has crammed the purchasing baggage of Civic Middle staff for years and gives Metropolis Corridor views from each stall.
Internal Sundown | Solar. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
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Hidden in a block-long SFMTA parking zone between eighth and ninth streets south of Irving, the Internal Sundown Farmers’ Market may be missed by guests to the neighborhood. However locals flock to its excellent assortment of stalls each Sunday for recent produce and an opportunity to meet up with each neighbors and farmers. Don’t miss the ever-changing choice of sprouts at Life Meals Gardens.
Mission | Thurs. 3 p.m.-7 p.m. from March via November
The people-watching is sort of pretty much as good because the meals on the Mission Group Market. The neighborhood seems each week for a complete block full of wonderful produce and ready meals. Far West Fungi is a must-stop. All metropolis dwellers ought to know that it’s the solely Thursday night operation, letting you refill for weekend cooking after work and positioning you for limitless post-shopping dinner choices from its Bartlett and twenty second location.
Noe Valley | Sat. 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
When farmers take over the teensy Noe Valley City Sq. on Saturday mornings, the neighbors prove large. With simply the proper variety of purveyors promoting the recent produce you want, and a tinsy playground to entertain Noe’s toddling set, the twenty fourth Avenue cease is a straightforward promote for anybody inside strolling distance. Hungry? Attempt the breakfast sandwich on focaccia at Boffo Cart.
North Seashore | Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
North Seashore is a comparatively new farmers’ market that debuted in 2018. Close to the library, pool and Joe DiMaggio Playground, the block of Greenwich simply east of Columbus within the shadow of Coit Tower closes each Saturday morning to host a dozen distributors, together with San Francisco’s personal Rize Up Sourdough, whose ube loaf warrants a style. There are a number of ready meals choices, as properly, together with breakfast tacos at LoJo’s. (Get the traditional chorizo and egg.)
Outer Sundown | Solar. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Promoting recent fruit and greens is barely a small a part of the Outer Sundown Mercantile’s mission. Began by “Ranger Angie” as a craft and artwork market, the mercantile expanded its choices in the course of the pandemic and now gives a nexus for all the west facet of town to collect, stroll and reconnect (see extra on this video.) With about 100 distributors of meals and artwork, the blocks close to Saint Ignatius alongside Sundown Boulevard come alive with music and particular occasions each Sunday (and Wednesdays in the course of the summer season). The market additionally gives the most important play space for youths, with Legos, artwork and different exercise zones.
Stonestown | Solar. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Should you’re on the lookout for slightly little bit of the Marin Farmers’ Market expertise within the metropolis, the Stonestown Farmers Market delivers. The Agricultural Institute of Marin runs this huge gathering within the again northwest nook of the mall property (best to enter on Winston Drive) and hosts lots of the brand-name farms that seem on the Ferry Plaza and Marin Civic Middle markets. Additionally on provide, an particularly massive choice of poultry and meat sellers, a good-sized kids’s play zone, a guitarist strumming and dealing the group, straightforward parking and quite a few ready meals stands: Don’t miss the breakfast bahn mi at 3 Bottled Fish; Polly house-makes the sausage and the roll is crunchily excellent.
Sea Cliff | Wed. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Now restarted after a pandemic hiatus, the VA Farmers’ market gives a pleasant mid-week purchasing alternative for cooks within the Outer Richmond.
Maryann Jones Thompson could be reached at [email protected]