There’s nothing more inspiring and maybe even a little therapeutic than shopping at the local farmers market. We’re lucky to live in a city that offers at least one farmers market for every day of the week in every neighborhood, many of which you can get to on foot. We’re on market watch and will keep you posted on what to look for and where to find it across town.
Weiser Family Farms, based in Tehachapi, is one of the restaurant community’s favorite vendors for fresh produce and can be found at farmers markets across the Southland. Known for root vegetables such as carrots and turnips, Weiser is most famous for potatoes. Dérive uses them in its recipe for kelp steamed potatoes with Meyer lemon cream and seaweed salt. Miles Thompson from Michael’s Santa Monica loves them for his Potatoes a la Plancha. “We make it with a little furikake aioli and bonito flakes and parmesan,” he tells me.
But my latest obsession from the Weiser family is their sweet Purple Ninja radishes. Medium-sized with an oblong shape, they’re larger and milder than regular radishes and are capped with purple and green stems. The inside looks like a starburst of lavender with a purple center. While I just eat them raw with a little salt (very high in vitamin C), they’re also perfect for sautéing with a little butter alongside a small steak. Or sprinkle a few drops of vinegar over thin slices for a salad and watch them intensify in color in seconds before your eyes.
From tubers to citrus, there are precious few weeks left of kumquat season, and you can find the little jewels at the Garcia Organic Farm stand. Kumquats are a citrus the size of a cherry tomato — you might say they’re the opposite of an orange. The rind is thin, juicy and sweet and the fruit slightly sour. Eat raw kumquats backwards; skin first, then the puckery flesh.
Think about making a kumquat compote, which works as a savory side dish, or for dessert over vanilla ice cream. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:
Roasted Salmon With Kumquat Compote and Curried Quinoa
4 8-oz pieces of salmon
1 T. garlic salt
1 tsp. sweet paprika
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup kumquats, halved
½ cup orange marmalade
½ cup sugar
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 star anise
1 seeded jalapeño, minced
One-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 cup quinoa
½ chopped onion
1½ tsp. curry
½ tsp. each salt and pepper
In a small saucepan, combine the kumquats, marmalade, sugar, vinegar, ginger, star anise, jalapeño, 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Cool.
Sauté rinsed quinoa, onions, curry, salt and pepper in one tablespoon olive oil for 5 minutes. Add two cups water, cover and simmer at lowest setting for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and paprika. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast for about 15-20 minutes.
Santa Monica Farmers Markets:
Wednesday Downtown: Arizona Avenue (between Fourth Street and Ocean) 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Saturday Downtown: Arizona Avenue (between Fourth and Second streets) 8 a.m.-1p.m.
Saturday: Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Ave. (at Pico & Cloverfield boulevards), 8 a.m.-1p.m.
Sunday: Main Street in Heritage Square, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. smgov.net/portals/farmersmarket/