From Garden to Table

July 7, 2010 § 3 Comments

In San Francisco, there’s a lot of “farm to table” eating — whether it’s branded veggies or meat from a particular farm served at certain (or in San Francisco, most) restaurants, or the buzz around Happy Boy Farms salad greens sold at area farmers’ markets (they are delicious!), or the general dialogue about eating fresh, local produce, ideally from farmers you know.

I am obviously a fan of this kind of eating. I love my weekly ritual of going to the Noe Valley Farmers Market on Saturdays, milling about the stands to see what looks gorgeous, talking to the farmers (or their family members) manning the stands to get their opinion on what’s best that day, and buying a canvas bag full of produce that I can turn into tasty meals all week.

In late May, for example, there were two weeks when apriums were in season. I bought half a dozen at a time from the Twin Girls Farm stand. Apriums are 3/4 apricot and 1/4 plum, are about 2 inches in diameter, are intensely sweet due to a high fructose content, and were developed in the late 1980s by Floyd Zaiger. And they are beautiful little things!

Apriums from Twin Girls Farm

I also love the Field of Greens farm stand. The farm isn’t certified organic, but it does use all organic farming practices; they just haven’t paid for the certification to become “officially” organic in the eyes of the government. The farm comprises 86 acres in San Benito County and 25 acres in Madera County, approximately 100 miles from San Francisco. Tom, the brother of the farmer, is there every week, with his big smile and his frank opinions about whether to get the Persian cucumbers or snap peas and whether to pass on the tomatoes until next time. Well, I’ve been craving that first taste of summer — the tomato — and luckily, last week, Tom deemed the Early Girls ready for consumption. They were so good that I ate them whole, out of hand, versus bothering to cut them up or put them in anything.

Early Girl Tomatoes from Field of Greens

But tonight was the most joyous and fun farm to table experience I’ve had this summer. I’ve been watering, fertilizing and protecting our garden’s mesclun patch (as you saw in an earlier post), and today, the extremely miniature field was ready for harvest. I went out to the garden with a glass bowl and scissors, using the “cut and come again” method, and snipped the outer leaves that had reached 4-6 inches, leaving the center intact so they would grow more leaves for future harvesting. I ended up with a rainbow of red salad bowl, black seeded simpson and royal oak leaf lettuces and arugula. We dressed it oh-so lightly with olive oil (from Healdsburg) and rice vinegar. The lettuces were tender and sweet, the arugula a bit spicy, and all of it tasted that much better because we grew it in our backyard and had harvested it just minutes before we ate it!

Mesclun patch ready for harvesting...

...Minutes later, ready to be dressed and eaten!

What fresh foods have you enjoyed lately?

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